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SEND reforms get £31.7m boost

29/12/2014 Joanna
A further £31.7 million is to be invested by the government to help local authorities implement special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms.

The funding will be distributed in 2015-16, supporting changes that mean provision of support will be extended from birth to 25 years of age.

It is believed that one in five children in the UK has SEND, which can range from dyslexia to a physical impairment. The reforms to the SEND code of practice mean they and their parents will have a greater role in shaping the support they receive.

The code requires local authorities, health bodies, schools, maintained early education settings and colleges to carry out statutory duties for children and young people with SEND.

Under the changes, rights and protections for young people are to be extended through the introduction of a new Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. Professionals will provide tailored support, giving families the help and assistance they need.

Youngsters with an EHC plan have been given a legal right to express a preference for state academies, free schools and further education colleges - previously, this was limited to maintained mainstream and special schools.

Children and families minister Edward Timpson said: "Local councils have made a strong start in implementing these life-changing reforms, but we want to give them more help to take delivery to the next level.

"The timescale has always been for them to bring children into the new system over the next 3 years - this extra money will help them to do that."

Mr Timpson has invited Ofsted to formally inspect local areas on their effectiveness in fulfilling their new duties. This will be carried out along with the Care Quality Commission and a local authority officer.

The aim of the inspection regime is to ensure parents and young people receive as much information as possible about what is being offered.

Local authorities have also been given details of their dedicated schools grant allocations for next year, which will include an extra £47 million.

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801767803-ADNFCR
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