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CBF Statement in response to the Education Committee inquiry into SEND

A year and a half after launching the national inquiry into special educational needs and disabilities, the House of Commons Education Committee has published its findings. The report highlights the poor implementation of the “ambitious reforms” of the Children and Families Act 2014 and contains a detailed analysis of the challenges that children and young people and their families are facing in a system unable to meet their educational and health needs. Issues are highlighted that the families who contact the CBF have been raising and CBF has been calling for action on for a long time. In particular, there is a lack of early intervention for children and young people with special educational needs and a lack of support and guidance for families trying to navigate the complex processes within the system.

 

Cultural shift

The report emphasises that a cultural shift is needed in order for financial reform to be effective. “Unless there is a systemic cultural shift on the part of all parties involved, additional funding will make little difference to the outcomes and experiences of children and young people with SEND.” We agree with this statement - there must be action to address the cultural issues.

 

Accountability

We share the concerns in the report that Ofsted and Care Quality Commission do not record/ report compliance with the 2014 SEND reforms in their routine inspections. We want to know how the government plans to ensure that schools and other service providers are held to account regarding compliance with the 2014 reforms and expect to see this in their response.

 

Cross-government approach

We support the report’s recommendation for a cross system approach to providing support to children and young people with special educational needs. The Department for Education needs to work closely with the Departments for Health and Social Care and Local Government to create the right infrastructure for supporting children and young people and prepare them for adulthood.

We hope that the provision of a properly funded cross government plan to address the issues highlighted in this report, that co-ordinates with other initiatives and programmes such as the Transforming Care programme, will form part of the government’s response to the findings of this inquiry. Urgent action is needed.

 

Focus on children and young people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges

The review fails to look specifically at provision for children and young people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges. This is a particularly vulnerable group who, if they do not receive timely and appropriate support, are at risk of ending up for long periods in inpatient units where they are likely to be secluded/ restrained/ inappropriately medicated causing long term harm. Find more about it  here.

We look forward to the Government’s response to address the issues this report has set out so clearly.

You can read the full report here.

 

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