Blog - 21st June
Dear fellow FLSE member,
It was a busy week for FLSE last week. We held our National Executive Meeting and AGM on Tuesday, The SEND Conference on Thursday both in London and I attended FLSE East's Executive meeting at the Eastern leadership centre near Cambridge on Friday.
I have been Vice-Chair for 2 years and at the National Executive meeting was elected Chair. I am delighted with this and shall do all I can to represent you well as leaders working with SEND children. Please feel free (in fact I encourage you to do so) to email me directly on any matter. I do have my own (sometimes strongly held) convictions about the things we need to work towards, inform debate upon and change in the world of SEND and I believe you as fellow members would support those aspirations. As you know I have spoken and actively and in some cases vociferously on the subjects of multi-agency provision in schools, post-16 and post-19 provision and effective training and development of the workforce. However, I am quite clear that my role is to represent your views and therefore please work closely with your national executive regional representative and contact me directly if you wish.
At the National Executive meeting David Bateson, our outgoing Chair was elected Vice-Chair and Barry Payne (FLSE East Regional Representative) was asked to work closely alongside him by way of succession planning. Thank you to David for all he has done in the role of Chair to advance FLSE and our causes. Garry Steele shall continue with the website and weekly newsletter which I know is appreciated by you all. Shru Suragh is stepping down from her finance role but we have found someone to replace her and also take on the role of Membership Secretary; I shall be able to introduce her to you shortly. Thanks also to Shru for all she has done to keep our finances on an even keel and to Garry for his ongoing work. Thanks lastly, but not least, to Pauline Miller for her work in organising our meetings and recording the minutes and outcomes.
Some areas of work for the coming year:
- We of course agreed The Green Paper would be a major area of concern and discussion and we shall continue to take up the debate on the issues it raises. You will of course have read the FLSE response to Next Steps – please let us have other views/areas of concern.
- The reforms to Funding: Mark Dale-Emberton (FLSE London and South Regional Representative) is leading on this for us and shall be bringing you regular updates.
- Achievement, Attainment and Progress for children with SEND: David Bateson and Barry Payne shall jointly lead on this important issue and shall be updating you with a briefing paper shortly
- I am going to canvass your views and write a briefing paper entitled something like 'Meeting the needs of vulnerable children in the new education landscape'
- Working with health and accommodation for children with SEND post BSF were also hot topics of discussion.
- National Teaching Schools and their on the training and development of all staff who work with SEND children
The minutes of the National Exec. meeting shall be out shortly and these will be forwarded to you.
I shall update you all on the SEND Conference next week.
And finally I thought you might be interested in the following exchange which took place in the House of Commons this week. (I 'tweeted' about this on my SEN/FLSE Twitter account - @Malcolm_Reeve)
Best wishes to you all – let's keep up the pressure for change!!
Special Educational Needs
8. Mr Robert Buckland (South Swindon) (Con): What steps he is taking to improve provision for children and young people with special educational needs. 
10. Henry Smith (Crawley) (Con): What steps he is taking to improve provision for children and young people with special educational needs. 
The Minister of State, Department for Education (Sarah Teather): In a written ministerial statement issued on 15 May, I published our plans to reform the current system for identifying, assessing and supporting children and young people who are disabled or have special educational needs from birth into adulthood, independent living and the world of work. We are testing our plans with 20 pathfinders across 31 local authorities and their primary care trust partners in readiness for introducing changes from 2014.
Mr Buckland: Uplands special school in Swindon, which has an excellent track record of providing education for young people from 11 upwards, is actively considering how to extend its provision in line with the Government’s policy of allowing extensions to 25. What measures will the Government take to encourage such excellent initiatives?
Sarah Teather: This is a very interesting idea. There are several practical matters to work through, but in principle the Government support this type of innovative thinking. Of course, the key is that any provision is not only about children staying on in school but about preparing them for independent living and ensuring that it is appropriate as young people move into adulthood. Our changes to funding for high-needs pupils should enable this kind of innovative thinking to take place.