On Thursday 22nd September, we wrote to the Department for Education alongside over 30 other organisations. Every organisation in this group works with and supports children with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families, to call for future SEND reform to be underpinned by six principles.

We believe, based on our engagement with parents and carers, professionals, and organisations in the sector that reform must:

  1. Be co-designed with children and families
  2. Strengthen compliance with the law
  3. Ensure parental choice is retained
  4. Make post-16 support a priority
  5. Not squeeze children’s needs into funding bands
  6. Address existing gaps in the Green Paper

The Government’s consultation on its recent SEND Green Paper closed in July. Now the Department for Education will deliberate on the feedback it received and is expected to respond by the end of the year, with new regulations likely to follow shortly after.

While the government’s SEND reforms were originally introduced to ‘improve an inconsistent, process-heavy and increasingly adversarial system’, we are concerned that the proposals in the Green Paper as they stand do not address the accountability gap and could worsen delays and access to support across the country.

Research conducted by the Together Trust earlier this year suggests that 9 in 10 parents and carers currently require specialist help to understand what support their child is entitled to.

One parent, Samantha, said that “there are so many obstacles to getting your child the right help, every decision is appealed before the support which is so desperately needed is finally given”.

Lucy Croxton, the Together Trust’s Campaigns Manager, said “the current system is underperforming for children and their families, but the current SEND proposals miss the mark. This joint letter demonstrates the will of organisations who support children with SEND to get reform right without cutting corners.”

Want to know more about the six principles?