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SEND Reforms - necessary but flawed

24 October 2019

The House of Commons’ Education Committee has published a review of the SEND reforms which were implemented from 2014 onwards.

The aim of the reforms was to provide a truly multi-agency child centred approach to meeting special educational needs from birth to 25. The report sets out that the reforms were necessary but that the implementation of the reforms have caused more problems than they have solved. In particular, the report highlights that an ongoing lack of funding for local authorities and schools and a lack of certainty over responsibilities for provision across education, health and social care bodies. This has resulted in increased confusion and accountability issues for schools and local authorities alongside greater struggles for parents to obtain the support required for children with SEN. The report recommends greater oversight for Ofsted around SEND and an enhanced role for the Ombudsman in dealing with school complaints.

Many schools and local authorities will welcome the committee’s view on funding and the lack of clarity over responsibility for provision as it reflects the issues being faced on the ground. Action to provide clarity on responsibilities and greater funding must form part of the DfE’s response to the report. At present, greater oversight will not benefit anyone within the SEND sector as it will only indicate where the known flaws already exist without providing a solution.

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