Children’s Secretary Ed Balls has announced proposals to provide better support for pupils with SEN. The plans are aimed at making life easier for parents and helping children maximise their potential. The proposals came in a published letter, of 28 September, in response to Brian Lamb’s letter which highlighted ways of improving parental confidence in the SEN system.
Key features of Mr Balls’ plans include trials to test different ways to assess children’s needs, a review of the provision of SEN trained teachers and new guidance for schools to tackle high rates of exclusions of children with SEN.
The Minister has appointed Toby Salt, of the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services, to head the independent review into the supply of teachers trained to meet the needs of children with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. Mr Balls also announced that the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust would be taking forward a £550,000 project to develop special schools as leaders in teaching and learning practice for children with the most complex learning difficulties.
Highlighting the fact that children with SEN are eight times more likely to be excluded from school, the Minister promised that new statutory guidance on behaviour and attendance partnerships “will make tackling exclusions of SEN pupils a priority”. He added that he expected partnerships “to work hard to address the specific needs of pupils, and draw on the support of partners to tackle behaviour issues early, before they become serious problems”.
The exchange of letters between Ed Balls and Brian Lamb follows three interim reports from the Lamb Inquiry into SEN and parental confidence. Brian Lamb’s final report is due to be published as this magazine goes to press. For full coverage of the report visit www.senmagazine.co.uk