SEND Green Paper

Sufficient powers and funding are needed to meet the needs of children with SEND.

Following the publication of the schools White Paper, the Government set out its long-anticipated review into the support provided to children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The SEND and alternative provision Green Paper will consult on addressing three key challenges:

  • Poor outcomes for children and young people with SEND or in alternative provision.
  • Navigating the SEND system and alternative provision is not a positive experience for children, young people, and their families.
  • Despite unprecedented investment, the system is not delivering value for money for children, young people and families.

The LGA has long raised concerns over the provision of SEND support for children and their families, and we are pleased government has put forward proposals to tackle these. 

As our recent report, ‘Agreeing to disagree? Research into arrangements for avoiding disagreements and resolving disputes in the SEND system in England’ showed, the aspirations of the SEND reforms of 2014 have not been achieved. This is evident from the huge rise in legal disputes and tribunal hearings over SEND support, with the number of appeals more than doubling since the reforms were introduced, rising by 111 per cent between 2013/14 and 2020/21.

Councils are ideally placed to act as convenors of local SEND systems”

While placing children at the heart of the SEND system was right, the reforms were not accompanied by sufficient powers and funding for councils to meet the needs of children with SEND, or hold health and education partners to account for their role.

We are therefore pleased that the Green Paper recognises that councils are ideally placed to act as convenors of local SEND systems, bringing together health and education partners to develop local inclusion plans. We look forward to taking this forward and working with the Department for Education (DfE) to ensure councils have the powers to hold partners to account. Having a collective responsibility will be crucial in delivering a system that works for children and their families.

It is also positive that the paper focuses on improving mainstream provision and inclusion levels. This will be central to the success of the Green Paper, and we would be keen to explore the development of a more contractual relationship between councils and schools in the provision of high needs funding, focused on outcomes and holding all schools to account for their delivery.

It will take several years for these proposals to go through the legislative process and become law. This is why, in the meantime, we want to work with the DfE to develop a plan that eliminates every council’s dedicated schools grant deficits.

We will now be looking to work closely with government, partners, and parents and carers to develop these proposals in further detail.

Above all else, these proposals will only be a success if parents and carers have confidence in the system, and councils stand ready to work with parents and families to ensure these new reforms meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.

Author

For the LGA’s response to the SEND Green Paper, please visit www.local.gov.uk/parliament/briefings-and-responses/send-green-paper-29-march-2022

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