Special Education Needs. The Reform

by Sarah Adams

MP Edward Timpson announced at the end of last year that a large sum of money would be given to local authorities to aid the demand in special educational needs.

17.9% of pupils in schools in the UK (2014 stats) have special educational needs. These children require extra help or support, or provision made for them to allow them to have the same opportunities as children their age.

MP Timpson states that, "Local councils have made a strong start in implementing these life-changing reforms, but we want to give them more help to take delivery to the next level. The money will support local authorities to transfer children and young people with SEN statements and learning difficulty assessments to new education, health and care (EHC) plans in an ordered way."

The new package of ambitious changes transforming the support on offer came into force in September. The new system will:

  • replace SEND statements and learning disability assessments with a new birth-to-25 education, health and care plan - setting out in one place all the support families will receive
  • require better co-operation between councils and health services to make sure services for children and young people with SEND and disabilities are jointly planned and commissioned
  • give parents and young people with education, health and care plans the offer of a personal budget - putting families firmly in charge
  • introduce mediation for disputes and trial giving children and young people the right to appeal if they are unhappy with their support
  • introduce a new legal right for children and young people with an education, health and care plan to express a preference for state academies, free schools and further education colleges - currently limited to maintained mainstream and special schools