“It is good the Government has set out new national standards which will clarify the support available, and the focus on early intervention will also ensure needs are met more effectively."
Responding to the SEND and AP Improvement Plan published by the Department for Education, Cllr Louise Gittins, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“Councils share the Government’s ambition of making sure every child with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) gets the high-quality support that meets their needs. It is good the Government has set out new national standards which will clarify the support available, and the focus on early intervention will also ensure needs are met more effectively.
“However, while the measures announced will help to fix some of the problems with the current system, they do not go far enough in addressing the fundamental cost and demand issues that result in councils struggling to meet the needs of children with SEND.
“We are also concerned over the lack of any plan to give councils additional powers to lead SEND systems effectively. We do not believe the Government has the capacity to hold councils, schools and other partners to account for their work supporting children with SEND.
“Improving levels of mainstream inclusion will be crucial to the success of any reforms, reducing the reliance on costly special schools and other settings. Powers to intervene in schools not supporting children with SEND should be brought forward at the earliest opportunity, but should sit with councils, not the DfE.”
Notes to editors
Councils’ high needs deficits – the gap between the cost of providing SEND support and the funding available – currently stands at an estimated £1.9 billion, rising to £3.6 billion by 2025 with no intervention.