The Government will flesh out its plans for SEN provision today in its long awaited response to the SEN Green Paper of March 2011.
Following announcements in last week’s Queens Speech, the Government will detail its plans to give parents greater financial control over how money allocated to support their children is spent. Parents will have the right to control their own budgets and buy in services for their children.
The Department for Education is also expected to announce further details of its combined education, care and health plans, which are to replace statements of SEN. The Government claims that these new assessments will simplify the system, making it fairer and more manageable for parents.
The Green Paper response will also confirm the Government’s plan to extend the legal protection offered by statements up to the age of 25. Under the present system, statements run out at the age of 16, requiring extra assessments for provision beyond this age.
The Government is also promising to tighten up guidance on how children are identified as having SEN as it believes that too many children are currently incorrectly labelled with special needs.
Roughly 20 per cent of children, around 1.7 million, are specified as needing additional help at school because they have some form of special educational need. A 2010 report by Ofsted said that the numbers of children with SEN in schools was being overestimated. Some schools were accused of exaggerating the difficulties faced by students as a justification for poor exam results. The Office argued that some schools were using SEN statistics to disguise poor teaching and that up to 450,000 children are being incorrectly labelled as SEN. The Government will undertake a consultation process before announcing this new guidance.