Rosie Phillips
Posted on 13 Apr 2015

The Success of Special Educational and Disability Reform

Changes in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) provision have been in place since last September. Intended to make pupils the centre of planning and hold teachers more accountable for their progress, Edward Timpson (Children and Families Minister) described the reform as ‘creating a better system that puts you and your child first’. However, although a step in the right direction, many feel that the new rules don’t go far enough.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, the new code of practice replaces SEN statements and Learning Disability Assessments (LDAs) with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans which will support children and young people until they’re twenty five.  The EHC plans are for children and young people who need support that will cost more than £10,000 each year. Within the new system, young people’s views will take precedence over their parents once they turn 16 (subject to their capacity), so as to directly involve them and create the most suitable plan.

However, Schools Week has published an Article stating that a parent led website suggests the changes have not been as successful as hoped for, as all but one of sixty responses to a survey suggest negative experiences. Many complaints put forward the notion that staff of Local Authorities neither understood what was expected of them, nor had received appropriate training and were focused on the administrative changes rather than delivering a superior individual centred approach.

Many still argue that local authorities can essentially create their own system, the new provision therefore not going far enough to facilitate and ensure children and young people get the help they need.

All children and young people with high needs are expected to have EHC plans in place by September 2017; however, whether the system is sufficient to make sure the care needed is always provided is still questionable.

For more information please contact Rosie Phillips, Paralegal in the Education team on or 01392 687774