Special Educational Needs (SEN)

The Children and Families Bill would make changes to the way in which support is provided to children and young people with Special Educational Needs.

Provisions include, but are not limited to:

  • Clause 26 creates a new duty for joint commissioning which will require local authorities and health bodies to work in partnership when arranging provision for children and young people with SEN.
  • Clause 30 places a requirement on local authorities to publish a "local offer" of services they expect to be available for children and young people with SEN.
  • Clauses 36 to 47 set out the requirements relating to the provision and implementation of Education, Health and Care plans.
  • Clause 48 requires local authorities to prepare a personal budget for children or young people with an EHC Plan if asked to do so by the child’s parent or the young person.

MPs are particularly interested in your comments on the practical implications of specific clauses of the Bill. Please make clear whether your comment relates to a specific clause or schedule.

This forum is now closed.

390 Responses to Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Nicola C says:
February 26, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Subject: General comment on Special Educational Needs (SEN) clauses
We are not providing the education that is needed to over 10% of school age children.

Teachers receive a cursory reference to dyslexia and SpLD and do not have a proper understanding of how to teach children with SEN. In some counties such as Cornwall this can be at 20% of school age children. Often these children become disillusioned with school. Often they are highly intelligent but learn in a different way in particular literacy subjects such as reading writing and spelling. Teachers need to be trained to teach literacy in a method suitable for all of their children and not just 90%. Felicity Craig's system that East Lothian schools practice has proved successful. Why has it not been used in England?

When these highly intelligent children become disaffected and came be treated as if they are lazy and stupid they start to believe this and then follow the wrong paths. It is therefore not surprising that over 50% of male young offenders are thought to have a SEN.

The UK needs to ensure that Local Authorities, Schools and teachers educate all children according to their needs. This will allow these children into blossom into future Bill Gates, Richard Branson's, John Lennon's, Agatha Chrisities, Richard Rodgers and other world renowned figures. The UK economy could do with utilising their talents.

Schools and Local Authorities should be made to provide the services that are needed by these children not just say that they exist. How ridiculous.

Children are our future and the future of the country.
Claire D says:
February 26, 2013 at 01:25 PM
Subject: General comment on Special Educational Needs (SEN) clauses
My main concern is that the bill only says schools have to use best endeavours, which means that schools only have to try to provide provision for dyslexic children. There is nothing to say that they have to.

In addition, the bill only says that the Local Authority must display a local offer of the services available in the area. I am worried that this is all Local Authorities will do - display the services and not provide them.

Another key concern is that there is no mention of introducing a minimum amount of training on dyslexia through initial teacher training and continuing professional development modules. A module created by the last government in the Rose Review 2009 already exists.

The bill also ignores what will be done to identify and care for children who do not qualify for a EHC plan (similar to statements now) . Most dyslexic children will not qualify for an EHC plan (ie. those on School Action and School Action Plus). It is very important to ensure that teachers are trained appropriately to help these children .
Emma R says:
February 26, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Subject: Clause 36 Assessment
It took too long for my son to get a statement of SEN - he was diagnosed at 4/5 and he didn't get his statement until just before his 9th birthday. Bedford Borough Council are notorious in my area for not giving statements. My son is now nearly 10 and still cannot read properly. He is in a provision and he is doing well there, but he forgets everything he learns over the summer holidays. He was signed off speech therapy even though he scored 1 out of a 100 for his understanding of speech. I was told that there was no point in giving him speech therapy because he is autistic.
John G says:
February 26, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Subject: General comment on Special Educational Needs (SEN) clauses
I agree with the bda's concerns: http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/news/latest-news/cfb-sen-reform.html

Without my mothers support I would not have got through school to fulfil my potential. My primary school called me dumb.

Luckily, my mother disagreed, did some research, and I had private specialist tuition. I have now graduated from Cambridge with a 1st in Computer Science. My spelling is still not great, but at least I can now write to the level I need in my job.

Everyone should be able to be given the same chance I did, but sadly that is not true.
Jonathan S says:
February 26, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Subject: General comment on Special Educational Needs (SEN) clauses
Just a general comment:

Our experience as parents of a child with Down Syndrome is that the regimentation of schools (National Curriculum and lots of testing) has made it impossible to keep our child included effectively in mainstream primary school beyond Year 3. So he is moving to Special School.

The government might want to think about whether this is the outcome they want. Mor flexible schooling styles makes more "inclusion" possible which has social benefits to the SEN and "normal" children as well as costing the same or less that Special School education.
Jonathan says:
February 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Subject: General comment on Special Educational Needs (SEN) clauses
48 Personal budgets.

If this does what I hope it does then it is logn overdue.

We participated with our young child who has Donw Sysndrome in a pilot Personal budgets scheme with our LA. It was very good. They gave us the money and we spent it wisely and we accounted in detail for all expenditure. Then they took it away again and now we have to fill in endless forms,on a fortnightly basis to get respite. The provision has to be "what they have" which is often not what we need or want. Weekend respite stops for half term (Why?). MOre money is spent as we have to go via the LA and they go via agencies who take a commission. Then there are the endless Panels that sit (costing more than the provision sometimes) to decide if we can have the respite or provision we applied for. It is slow beurocratic and wasteful. Bring back Personal Budgets and direct payments (with a minimum of beuarocracy form-filling and Panels)!

I hope this clause will deliver that. Please.
wendy m says:
February 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Subject: General comment on Special Educational Needs (SEN) clauses
Does this apply to all ages? My son is in special school until 19, what happens after he reaches 19?
Jonathan S says:
February 26, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Subject: Clauses 37-49 Education, health and care plans
I wish to echo Mary M's comments that I welcome more joined up working but am concerned that the Bill is weakly drafted. To be effective Health and Social Care should have a statutory duty to deliver the support mentioned in a child's EHC plan, in the same way as education is.

Our experience is that where there is no statutory duty it doesn't happen.

My further concern is that our Local Authority (in Barnet) does not update SEN statements annually - they ignore updates sent in and only apply the updates when they feel like it or think it is "important" - eg at specific stages where they "prioritise" changing a child's statement. I think this is illegal but what can be done about it.
What will prevent them from "not getting around to" updating the new care plans ? (and withouth the plans being updated the services and funding will not follow - thus saving them money at the child's expense).
Cathy A (CE Family Rights Group) says:
February 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Subject: General comment on Special Educational Needs (SEN) clauses
At Family Rights Group we welcome in general terms the intentions of the special educational and disability provisions to improve services for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEN & D). In particular, we welcome the aim to create a more integrated approach to the educational, health and care needs of children and young people. However, we have serious concerns that the provisions:

a) do not consistently apply to children with a disability but are restricted to those with statemented special educational needs;

b) will adversely impact on other children in need, since the new proposals create a lack of parity between access to services for children who have special educational needs and access for children with other health and care needs who are children in need (CIN).
Danielle M says:
February 26, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Subject: General comment on Special Educational Needs (SEN) clauses
I am concerned with the practicalities of the new funding arrangements being introduced. The proposed implementationts are a threat to successful educational outcomes.

It is important that national centres of excellence remain as a choice for young people to provide them with the best opportunities available and enable them to achieve their potential. Expertise in this field is invaluable and a crucial factor to young persons achieving their independence. Appropriate assessment by fully qualified and experienced practitioners is an essential part of the forward planning to make certain the educational pathway opportunities are put in place; we should not dismiss the expertise available to us within Specialist Colleges.

Related information

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About the Children and Families Bill

The Children and Families Bill contains provisions to change the law in several areas relating to children and families.

Explanatory Notes

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Additional Comments?

Comments on areas not covered by the listed Bill topics, or broader comments on the Bill as a whole (including anything that you think should have been included in the Bill but is not) should be posted as an additional comment. As this Public Reading is a pilot, we are also keen to hear your views on the public reading process itself.

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Pre-legislative Scrutiny

Some provisions in the Children and Families Bill were published in draft form last year so that MPs could scrutinise them and recommend changes to be made before the Bill itself was introduced to Parliament. Four different Committees from the House of Commons and the House of Lords examined draft clauses.