Councils to probe state of SEND system

By Tristan Donovan

| 10 January 2018

Councils are set to investigate the state of the system for providing support for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) to see if it can be improved.

A review of SEND support is to be conducted in response to concerns that councils are struggling to meet growing demand. Picture: NTI

The probe, which will be conducted by the Local Government Association (LGA), will review the role of councils, central government, health and other partners in delivering SEND support.

It will also look into rising demand for support and the reasons behind it, whether current funding levels are adequate, and what effective multi-agency work to support children and young people with SEND looks like.

The LGA is set to form a special "task and finish" group to conduct the review. The creation of the proposed group is due to be approved at a meeting of the LGA's children and young people board today.

The agenda for the meeting says the move is a response to concerns that councils are struggling to meet the growing demand for SEND support in England and comes as the April deadline for assessing and transferring all children with SEND statements to the new education, health and care plans approaches.

Department for Education figures show that as of January 2017 there were still 112,057 children on SEND statements.

"Feedback from member councils has highlighted SEND as an area that is causing considerable concern as rising demand for support for children and young people has not been mirrored by increased funding," the agenda states.

"This has been combined with both an Ofsted inspection framework that has highlighted the mixed council performance picture and the April 2018 deadline for transferring all children and young people with SEND statements to education, health and care plans."

The group is due to deliver its findings in September 2018.

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