Education news

SEND improvement plan

In March 2023, the UK Government published a SEND and alternative provision improvement plan: right support, right place, right time.    It set out their intention to establish national standards for SEND, alternative education and Education, health and care (EHC) plans.     See their overview – under the Education heading.

The SEN jungle website has published a response.    They tell you what the plan is and where it falls short.    They are at pains to say that the criteria for an assessment needs is unchanged.    They go on to say:

  • The aim of the plan is to reduce the number of EHCPs
  • EHCPs are not handed out like Smarties
  • Most of the key changes will not be made across the country until 2025 at the earliest.

Even so, you might want to have a quick look at the rest of the article.     It offers a lot of what could be called constructive comment.

The plan

In the Executive summary, paragraph 4, it says that the SEND and alternative provision system will have new National standards.     These will improve identification of needs and set out support to be available in mainstream settings.     It says that fewer EHC plans will therefore be needed.     Here is the text of the extract.

   Click icon to view the complete government plan.

School transport

The Department for education issued new guidance on school transport in June 2023.     Eleanor Wright of legal charity SOS SEN expects it to have mixed results.     The good news is that it helps to clarify the guidance, and there are elements which promise to be useful to parents in making LAs comply with their transport obligations.     They are reminded of their duty to consider each transport application on its own merits and not to rigidly stick to their policies.

The bad news, according to Ms Wright, is that the guidance ignores equality and case law that protects disabled learners.      More pointedly, the transport duty is limited to children attending the nearest suitable school.      She says that this does not mean the most suitable school, and for most children the nearest school to the child’s home will be the nearest suitable school if it can offer a place.      Click icon above for her article in Special needs jungle.

   Click icon for guidance issued in Jun 2023.

See also: Exclusions update      Better value in SEND        EHCP cuts?

Special schools upgrade

Did you see the article in County news magazine in Dec 2022?      It says that the council is spending £86m to improve and expand 13 special school sites.      It highlights building work at St Bernard’s School in Louth, Eresby School in Spilsby and St Christopher’s School in Lincoln.      There is also more work under way at several more school sites.       Click icon for specifics.     See also our Schools page.

SEN funding

A primary school head in Liverpool is complaining  that the support system for children with special educational needs (SEN) in mainstream schools is “not fit for purpose“.       He says that government funding for each child on the SEN register does not meet the cost of one-to one support needed.       See article Dec 2022.

In Sep 2022, The Guardian reported that the number of complaints from parents about special needs education had risen by three-quarters in the previous four years – according to figures from the local government ombudsman.       Click icon for the more about this.

All this despite government proposals of Mar 2022 and and a tripling of the SEN budget to £2.6 billion in the Sep 2022 budget.      Perhaps things might start to improve in the new year if Leeds city council budget is anything to go by.

 SEND proposals

Ambitious about autism published its response in March 2022 to UK government proposals for Special educational needs       It is a mixed review.      Click icon to find it after any adverts.

 Lincolnshire SEND plans

A £50m investment was approved by Lincolnshire County Council for SEND provision some time ago.        Click icon for summary.      The council is working with Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum to develop a new strategy for special education.

County news reported construction getting underway in Dec 2020. 

SEND Reforms

How are the SEN & Disability reforms of 2014 going?      The picture does not seem to be all bad but there is room for improvement.

  • Updates continue to be added at least as recently as 2023.
  • If you are experiencing difficulties you are not alone and it might be worth looking for helpful details.        For example, one survey revealed that only just over half of pupils with SEND (54%) believed that teachers and other school staff were preparing them well for adult life once they leave school/college or training …     Could this perhaps reflect a generalised insecurity felt by pupils as they look ahead to the future? 

Click icon above to browse articles about reforms.       See also:

What Parents told the government
Botched job?

 Ombudsman complaints

Children with special educational needs and disabilities are increasingly being failed by the system designed to support them, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.       The Ombudsman is now upholding nearly 87% of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan cases.       Click icon for full article.

 SEN crisis

The mother of an autistic son, aged seven, wrote about her fight to get him assessed and placed in a school that could meet his needs.        Click icon to read the article of 26/Oct/2018.

 Robot coding

Click icon for a video about a computer coding project that is believed to stimulate children on the spectrum to take an interest in and develop social & communication skills.

 Lincolnshire SEND strategy

Lincolnshire County Council is developing a new strategy for special education.       They give it the title:  Building Communities of Specialist Provision for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Lincolnshire.       The Lincolnshire  Parent Carer Forum has dedicated a section of their website specifically to these developments.       Click icon to find out about it.

 Parliament inquiry

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism has produced a report.          The Click icon to see the Special Needs Jungle’s (SNJ) take.       The SNJ is a parent led group.       See our SEN Information page for more about them.

  Teenage geek

Autistic teenager creates artificial intelligence but ‘can’t get school place’.              It took Kari Lawler only a week to build her own virtual assistant, which operates on the same lines as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.       It’s incredible when you consider what the large technology companies have spent on producing something not very different to what Kari has managed to achieve in such a short space of time.       Her parents have not yet been able to get a school place for her since she was diagnosed and finished at primary school.

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