In less than a month’s time a new package of changes regarding special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will come into force. The new system will:
- Replace SEND statements with a new birth-to-25 education, health and care plan (EHC plan). This will detail the support a family will receive in one place;
- Require better co-operation between those involved in providing the support outlined in the plan to ensure a more joined up approach;
- Give parents and young people a personal budget to allow them to choose the support they need;
- Require councils to publish a ‘local offer’ which shows the support available in their area
- Introduce medication for disputes;
- Trial giving children/young people the right to appeal if they are unhappy with support;
- Introduce a new right to allow children/young people with a plan to express a preference for state academies, free schools and FE colleges, rather than being limited to maintained mainstream and special schools;
- Get rid of existing statements and learning difficulty assessments (LDAs) which will convert to EHC plans over a period of approximately 3 years;
- Replace School Action and School Action Plus with a new approach for identifying and supporting pupils with SEN as per the new Code of Practice; and
- Place a greater focus on support that enables those with SEN to succeed in education and make a successful transition to adulthood.
It seems that the changes will ensure there is more focus on the child/young person and their family, and will give them the power to select the most appropriate support, as they know what is best.
The new system has already been ‘test-driven’ by several families with positive feedback. The changes have also gone digital with the launch of a new app where families can share their likes, dislikes and hopes for the future with those who need the information.
Only time will tell if the new system is effective and meets its goal of making SEN support easier to access and use but it looks positive so far.