SEN 'Green Paper' - Progress and Next Steps - FLSE Response
Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability
Update - May 2012
Support and Aspiration: Progress and Next Steps was published on Tuesday 15th May 2012.
FLSE welcomes the publication of the Government's response to the SEN Green Paper consultation: Progress and Next Steps. FLSE is looking forward to working with the DfE and government to ensure that the voice and experience of leaders in special education settings is heard. In this way we hope to support the Government in bringing about the changes necessary to ensure that children and young people with SEN and/or a disability have better outcomes in life and that their families receive the support they need.
The publication of Support and Aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability in March 2011 gave us much cause for hope and was received positively by many. The Progress and Next Steps document renews the hope that we can together bring about systemic and lasting changes which are vital to the futures of children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities in this country.
We are particularly pleased that the minister has said in her forward that she will ensure that 'the right measures are in place to hold services to account.' We believe it is critical that health and care services are both required by legislative framework and held accountable for the support they offer SEND children and young people in the same way that education services are. We therefore welcome the clear commitment to introduce legislation in 2013.
FLSE supports fully the vision for the 'New System' set out in the original Green Paper.
- We welcome the plan to introduce legislation through a Children and Families Bill in this session of Parliament – which will ensure that there are clear duties on all the agencies involved.
- We fully support the Government in its commitment to a single Education, Health and Care Plan focussed on improving outcomes.
- We know that bringing the right services to bear in supporting children and young people with statements in special education settings has been an ongoing challenge and is a great worry to us and parents.
- We expect that force of legislation will continue to protect the educational provision for these children and young people and that furthermore, both health and social care will become bound by legislation to provide the support set out in the EHCP.
If this opportunity is lost we shall continue to struggle to deliver the best outcomes for these young people. All of us recognise that we are working with an increasingly complex population for whom therapy services (including mental health services) and social care are as vital as education input to ensure better learning and life outcomes.
We are pleased that there shall be a clear focus on SEN and Disability in the reformed health system.
The legislative framework which backs up the concept of a single EHCP is the first great hope for us in the Government's plans and upon which so much rests.
We welcome the statement that 'parents will not lose the legal protections offered by the current statement of SEN' and that there are plans to extend those protections for people over the age of 16. FLSE members are concerned about what happens to children and young people with SEND post-16 and post-19 when their statutory education ends.
Our members work to improve SEN education settings but are gravely concerned that these young people 'fall off the end of education' and have unsuccessful transitions to the next phase of their lives.
We warmly welcome a plan which extends until the age of 25. We believe that special free schools could play a significant role.
Ensuring better outcomes post 16 and post 19 is the second great hope for us in the Government's plans.
The setting up of 20 local pathfinders involving 31 local authorities and health partners is welcomed. We ask that the outcomes of these pathfinder programmes be fully evaluated and discussed with all interested parties so that the lessons learned can influence changes to the law in the most effective way. It is vital that pathfinder programmes are effective in informing meaningful legislative changes.
We welcome the commitment to families shown via the introduction of an option for Personal Budgets for children and young people with an EHCP. The success of these is predicated upon effective legislation to support the EHCP.
Again we welcome the commitment to develop the knowledge and skills of those working with children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities. It is important that all teachers become skilled in working with children who have SEN.
Whilst we welcome the increase in the number of special school ITT placements we believe all ITT courses should provide a significant SEN element. For those working in the SEN field, specialist ITT courses need to be developed so that 'learning on the job' is not the norm and that teachers enter the profession trained and qualified in specialist SEN areas.
We believe more could and should be done in this area and we look forward to taking this issue forward.
We welcome the new scholarship schemes and Teaching Agency materials.
The effective training and skilling of those who work with children and young people with SEN and/or Disabilities is the third great hope for us in the Government's plans.
It is a time of great hope in the field of special education and disabilities. There are many challenges in bringing about systemic and long-lasting change but we commit to working with the Government to address these challenges.
The Green Paper Next Steps provides an opportunity to address long-standing issues which ultimately have resulted in children and young people with SEN and/or disabilities not receiving the support they deserve and are entitled to. It is important that we work together to seize this moment and this initiative to bring about change.
FLSE believes children and families come first and shall stand by our commitment to improve life and learning outcomes through active (although sometimes challenging engagement) in support of the proposals.
If you would like to make any comments to the FLSE response, then please let us know by emailing these to email@example.com . Thank you.
Download the FLSE Response...
|Progress and Next Steps - FLSE Response|
Initial FLSE views
David Bateson - Chairman, FLSE
- Approve of the biggest SEND review for 32 years
- Glad it intends to tackle bureaucracy whilst protecting children’s rights
- Less enthusiastic about the untempered majoring on parental rights. Of course we all want to support parents but we fundamentally support children. It would be preferable to hear of advocates for children and productive partnerships where schools’ knowledge and expertise is recognised too. Parents are not necessarily the best advocates and, not surprisingly can be more concerned with welfare issues rather than educational progress. Conversely, the may have over-high and damaging expectations of children and schools. They may or may not know their child best but they certainly won’t have the backdrop and experience of hundreds if not thousands of young people with SEND nor developmental issues and school provision.
- Must use the green paper to argue for joined-up services and new models of organisation that answer wellbeing; outcomes; training, recruitment, retention; leadership development, succession planning etc