Education Committee announce new inquiry

07 September 2012

The Education Committee is conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of the Government’s proposed reform of provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

The Government published draft clauses in a Command paper (Cm 8438) on 3 September 2012.  At the same time the then Minister of State for Children and Families, Sarah Teather MP, wrote to the Committee, inviting it to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny.

The Committee invites written submissions of evidence addressing the following points:


1. Does the draft Bill meet the Government’s policy objective to improve provision for disabled children and children with special educational needs?
2. Will the provisions succeed in cutting red tape and delays in giving early specialist support for children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities?
3. What will be the cost?
4. What impact will the draft Bill have on current institutional structures?
5. What transitional arrangements should be put in place in moving from the existing system?
6. What can be learned from the current pilot schemes and how can these lessons be applied to the provisions of the draft Bill?
7. Is there anything missing from the draft Bill?


8. Whether it would be appropriate to move away from “special educational needs” and use the term “learning difficulties and/or disabilities” instead in the new system?
9. How the general duties on local authorities to identify and have responsibility for children and young people in their area who have or may have special educational needs (clauses 3 and 4) work with the specific duties in other provisions (clauses 5 to 11, 16 and 17 to 24)?  Are they sufficiently coherent?
10. Should the scope of the integrated provision requirement be extended to all children and young people, including those with special educational needs?
11. Should other types of schools and institutions be included in the duty on schools to admit a child with an education, health and care plan naming the school as the school to be attended by the child?
12. Do the provisions for 19 to 25 year olds provide a suitable balance between rights, protections and flexibility?
13. Do the provisions achieve the aim of integrated planning and assessment across agencies?
14. How could the power given to the Secretary of State to make regulations with regard to the practicalities of the assessment and planning process be best utilised to achieve the aim of integrated support?
15. What impact will the new powers provided for in the clauses have on young people’s transition into adult services?
16. Should the provisions in this bill relating to portability of social care support reflect those for adults contained in the Care and Support Bill?
17. How could the provisions in the bill be used to reinforce protections for young people with special educational needs who are in custody or who are leaving custody?

For further information regarding the specific questions, please refer to the Minister’s letter of 3 September:
Sarah Teather letter - 3 September 2012 (PDF)

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines below by midday on 11 October 2012 – earlier submissions would be helpful; the Committee may be unable to accept late submissions due to tight deadlines.

Please note that submissions need not address all the questions but only those areas on which you have evidence to contribute.  Where your comments relate to specific draft clauses, please identify the relevant clause clearly in your submission. 

Please note
The submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked “Pre-Legislative Scrutiny: SEN”.  The Committee’s strong preference is for submissions in electronic form, although hard copy originals will be accepted. Hard copy submissions should be sent to Caroline McElwee, Committee Assistant, at:

Education Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London  SW1P 3JA

Each submission should:
• be no more than 3,000 words in length;
• have numbered paragraphs; and
• (if in electronic form) be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

For Data Protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: (PDF PDF 1.23 MB)

Please also note that:

• Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, although not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives.  If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
• The Committee does not normally investigate individual cases.

(image istockphoto)

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