Special Educational Needs and Disabilities – House of Commons Education Committee (Report)

On 23rd October the Education Select Committee published their report in to the state of SEND. The report follows an 18 month inquiry in to the SEND reforms. The findings provide evidence of a system that is failing those it was set up to support. In their summary the report authors state that “In 2014, Parliament legislated with the intention of transforming the educational experiences of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The reforms were ambitious: the Children and Families Bill sought to place young people at the heart of the system. However, as we set out in this report, that ambition remains to be realised. Let down by failures of implementation, the 2014 reforms have resulted in confusion and at times unlawful practice, bureaucratic nightmares, buckpassing and a lack of accountability, strained resources and adversarial experiences, and ultimately dashed the hopes of many.” (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201920/cmselect/cmeduc/20/20.pdf)

Such an indictment of a failing system is something that resonates with all of us at Family Voice Peterborough. For the past five years we have been hearing of and meeting more families who are not receiving the right support at the right time. We have reported the experiences of families at various levels and even took the decision to write to Central Government to ask for fair and better funding for Peterborough so that families could start being given the right level of support across a range of areas.  Across Peterborough there has been a great increase in the numbers of children and young people with SEND and whose needs are often more complex, yet the funding to provide the support has remained static. This leads to a recipe for disaster where more and more families will be failed and have to resort to taking legal action to gain the support they feel they need for their child/ young person. As the report authors state “There is too much of a tension between the child’s needs and the provision available. The significant funding shortfall is a serious contributory factor to the failure on the part of all involved to deliver on the SEND reforms and meet children’s needs.”  (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201920/cmselect/cmeduc/20/20.pdf)

You can read the full education select committee report here