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special educational needs – the shake-up (and spin) begins

15 May 2012

The biggest change to the SEN framework is being launched today with much fanfare being given to a new right for parents to control the funding for their child’s education and bring an end to the parental fight for appropriate provision for their children from the local authority. Under the new arrangements, the role of the local authority would be to assess the additional needs that the child has and it will be for parents to ensure that those needs are catered for by purchasing the required services.

Will this be any better than the current system? The current system is already seen to favour those parents who are better placed to argue for improved provision or have the funds to pay for expert reports to reinforce their arguments. It is unclear whether personal budgets will change this position and whether those who do not take the budget will receive a second rate service. If that is to be the case, then the stated aim of the government to eliminate inequalities in education would be seen to be failing.

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