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SEND Review

In September 2019, the Government announced a review of the system of support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in England. The system supports children and young people aged 0-25, and aims to unify support across education, healthcare, and social services.

The current system was introduced in 2014, and five years after its inception the review aimed to take a wholesale look at how the system was functioning, with particular focus on issues such as:

  • How the system could provide the highest quality support
  • The balance of funding between mainstream and specialist education settings
  • Incentives and accountability for schools, colleges, and local authorities
  • Understanding rising numbers of children and young people receiving formal Education, Health, and Care Plans (EHCPs) for support

A separate call for evidence on the operation of the SEND funding system ran between May-July 2019.

The Green Paper

The review was published in March 2022, as part of a green paper consultation: SEND review: right support, right place, right time. The Government has said the Covid-19 pandemic affected both the timing of the review and its content, with the pandemic seen to exacerbate existing difficulties in the system.

The review proposes a single system to cover SEND and also alternative provision, which supports pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, would not otherwise receive suitable education.

The green paper envisages, among other proposals:

  • A new integrated national SEND and alternative provision system setting statutory, nationally consistent standards.
  • Establishing new local SEND partnerships, bringing together education (including alternative provision), health and care partners with local government and other partners to produce a local inclusion plan, setting out how each local area will meet the national standards
  • Introducing a standardised and digitised EHCP process and template
  • Local authorities providing a tailored list of settings to support parents and carers to express their preference for a suitable placement
  • Introducing a streamlined process for redress, including mandatory mediation. The SEND Tribunal, responsible for handling appeals against local authority decisions regarding special educational needs, would remain in place
  • A planned consultation on a new Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) National Professional Qualification (NPQ) for school SENCos, and to increase the number of staff with an accredited Level 3 SENCo qualification in early years settings
  • Revised and clarified accountability for responsible bodies, such as schools and local authorities
  • A new national framework of banding and price tariffs for high needs funding, which covers SEND and alternative provision

A consultation has been opened on the green paper proposals, with submissions up to 1 July 2022.

This briefing includes background on the existing SEND and alternative provision systems, and includes an overview of the green paper proposals.

Further background

The following Library briefings may help for further background:

Documents to download

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