15 May 2012

Responding to the Department for Education's plans set out in 'Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability' Liz Lovell, Policy Advisor at The Children's Society said:

‘The government’s aim to create a simpler and more joined up system for Special Educational Needs and Disability support is very welcome - the current system can be complex and difficult to navigate for families already under a lot of stress. 

It should make things simpler and better for the child if they have a single plan, joining up education, health and social care services - but it'll only work if all agencies involved have a statutory duty to provide the services.

It is encouraging to see government aiming to give greater control to disabled children and young people themselves. The proposed young person’s advisory group would be a step towards this, while the views of disabled children should be properly heard when evaluating pathfinders too. These approaches should be integral to the whole system.

And greater personalisation of services, with individual budgets, will be a further step toward greater control for the disabled young person, providing there is decent support to make it work.

Joining up services around the child and having a ‘local offer’ makes a lot of sense, but the proposal to hold local providers to a clear set of standards will be critical. No child’s special educational needs should be subject to a ‘postcode lottery’.