The Department for Education has announced it is to provide an extra £30 million of funding to help parents adjust to the new special educational needs (SEN) reforms.
Some 1,800 independent supporters will be available from September 2014 to help parents adapt to the process, following reforms to SEN provision.
Supporters will be drawn from independent voluntary, community and private organisations. They will provide one-to-one, independent assistance to families with the new SEN assessment and education, health and care planning process.
Edward Timpson, minister for children and families, said the support will be made available to assist with the reforms which provide "much greater integration of vital services and one system for children and young people with SEN from birth to 25.
"Where there is disagreement, independent supporters will also make sure councils understand what families want, and help families to challenge decision making so children with SEN receive the support they really need," he commented.
The Council for Disabled Children is to oversee the recruitment and training of these supporters. It will work alongside private, voluntary and community sector partners to provide support.
Recently, it was announced that pilot schemes of the reforms to SEN care had met with widespread approval. Over 88 per cent of parents said their views had been taken into account regarding the reforms.
The Children and Families Bill, currently progressing through parliament, is designed to improve support for children with SEN. A new birth-to-25 education, health and care plan will integrate support and is set to replace SEN statements and learning disability assessments.
It aims to facilitate better cooperation between councils and health services and provide the option of a personal budget to give families control over education, health and care plans.
Councils will be required to publish a 'local offer' showing support available to all disabled children and young people and their families in the area. Additionally, mediation for disputes is to be made available to allow young people to appeal if they are unhappy with their support.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels