COMMONS

Special educational needs and disabilities inquiry launched

18 April 2018

The Education Committee launches inquiry into support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The inquiry

In 2014, the Government introduced wide-reaching changes to the SEND system, with the intention of offering simpler, improved and consistent help for children and young people with SEND. The Government claimed these changes would give families greater choice in decisions. The Committee’s new inquiry is intended to review the success of these reforms, how they have been implemented, and what impact they are having in meeting the challenges faced by children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Address social injustice in education

Launching the inquiry, Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"One of the primary objectives of the Education Committee is to address social injustice in education. Understanding and addressing the challenges faced by children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is an important part of this work.

It has been four years since major SEND reforms were introduced and it’s important we examine whether the Government’s stated ambitions for simpler, improved and consistent help for children and young people with SEND have been met. There are rising concerns about the quality and access to SEN provision which the Committee we will want to explore in this inquiry. The Committee’s current inquiry into alternative provision has heard considerable evidence that children with special educational needs are disproportionately excluded from school and over-represented in alternative provision. During the course of our quality of apprenticeships and skills training inquiry we’ve also heard that with young people with SEN have faced significant barriers in accessing apprenticeships. 

All children deserve to access good quality education that meets their needs and supports them to learn to ensure that they are able to thrive and climb the ladder of opportunity. The 2014 Act extended provision to young people up to the age of 25 and the Committee is particularly keen to hear evidence about whether there is the right support available to enable young people to access appropriate post-18 opportunities such as studying at FE colleges and undertaking apprenticeships."

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced wide reaching reforms to support for children with special education needs and disabilities, extending provision from birth to 25 years of age, and replacing statements and Learning Disability Assessments with Education Health and Care Plans.

Pre-legislative scrutiny of Children and Families Bill

The Education Committee undertook pre-legislative scrutiny of the Children and Families Bill and published its report in 2012. The Committee is now considering the impact and implementation of part three of the Children and Families Act 2014.

Terms of Reference - Call for written evidence

The Committee is inviting written evidence on the following by 14 June 2018:

  • Assessment of and support for children and young people with SEND
  • The transition from statements of special educational needs and Learning Disability Assessments to Education, Health and Care Plans
  • The level and distribution of funding for SEND provision
  • The roles of and co-operation between education, health and social care sectors
  • Provision for 19-25-year olds including support for independent living; transition to adult services; and access to education, apprenticeships and work

Closing date for written submissions: Thursday 14 June 2018.

In line with the general practice of select committees, the Education Committee resolved on 12 September 2017 to not investigate individual cases. The Committee understands that personal experiences will form an important part of many submissions, but requests that any written evidence directly addresses the terms of reference set out above.

Written evidence may be submitted confidentially or on the basis of anonymity; please make it clear at the beginning of your submission if you want this to be the case. Evidence may be edited prior to publication to remove personal information.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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