A simplified Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be introduced by the government as part of its reforms of the SEND system outlined in a green paper by digitising plans to make them more flexible, reducing bureaucracy and supporting parents to make informed choices
There will be a list of appropriate placements tailored to their child’s needs outlined in the digitised plans for EHCP, meaning parents will be able to spend less time researching the right school for their child.
The SEND and alternative provision green paper also sets out new national standards across education, health and care to build on the foundations created through the Children and Families Act 2014, for a higher performing SEND system.
Furthermore, the green paper encourages the culture and practice in mainstream education to be more inclusive and better at identifying and supporting needs, including through earlier intervention and improved targeted support.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid said: “Every child, regardless of their background, should be able to access the education they need and deserve. These plans will level up opportunities for children and young people with special educational needs.
“It is vital that children, families and teachers have confidence in our education system, no matter where they live; we need to hear from them so this new national, integrated system works for the people who need it most,” he added.
The ambitious green paper is the result of the SEND Review, commissioned to improve an inconsistent, process-heavy and increasingly adversarial system that too often leaves parents facing difficulties and delays accessing the right support for their child.
The plans to reform the system will be open for a 13-week public consultation.
Measures outlined in the SEND and alternative provision Green Paper include:
The proposals are backed by £70 million funding.
Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “Every child has the right to excellent education - particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities, who often need the most support.
“We are launching this consultation because too often this isn’t the case. We want to end the postcode lottery of uncertainty and poor accountability that exists for too many families, boost confidence in the system across the board and increase local mainstream and specialist education to give parents better choice.
“I want to make sure everyone knows what to expect, when to expect it and where the support should come from. I know there are strongly held views and I want to hear from as many parents, teachers and children with experience of the system so they can help shape a future policy that works for them,” he added.
Capital funding allocations worth £1.4 billion have also been published today for councils to pay for new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND, or those who will benefit from high-quality AP.
The government will also look to approve up to 40 new special and AP free schools in regions where they are most needed.
Low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children will be further supported through investment of £27.3 million next year to help pay for equipment, goods or services including sensory and educational equipment.
Over £10 million will also be invested to train over 200 more educational psychologists from September 2023, to give advice and input into EHCP assessments, advise schools on how to support pupils with SEND and offer wider wellbeing support to them, their families and teachers.
The government will work with Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission to strengthen ability to hold local areas to account against these standards.
Dame Rachel de Souza DBE, Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “The Green Paper proposals will help to improve these children’s lives, and alongside a system that dovetails with children’s social care and the Schools White Paper we will have all the pieces of the jigsaw to making the system better for them. It is on all of us working with and for children to help create a system that facilitates this, and we must now listen to as many children and families as possible to make sure that these proposals work for them.”