2 November 2023
Coalition marks first birthday with a renewed call for investment in and planning for the specialist workforce.
On 2 November 2022, the RCSLT along with the National Deaf Children’s Society, Speech and Language UK, and Voice 21, brought together over 100 organisations calling on the UK Government to invest in and plan for the specialist workforce.
Since then, some great progress has been made:
- The coalition has continued to grow – it now has over 130 members
- There has been significant parliamentary activity – this has included a debate in Westminster Hall
- The coalition has had – and continues to have – positive discussions with officials in the Department for Education on the specialist workforce
- The coalition was referenced in a Nuffield Foundation funding call on addressing the growing SEND challenge
- The National Institute for Health and Care Research has issued a research call on demand for therapists for children and young people with SEND
SEND and AP Improvement Plan
Beyond that, the Government published its SEND and AP Improvement Plan – the coalition responded to this, welcoming parts of it, including:
- the Government’s commitment to work alongside children, young people, and their families, and those who work across every part of the SEND system to improve the SEND and AP system.
- the announcement of the joint Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care approach to SEND workforce planning, with a clear timeframe to establish a steering group in 2023 and complete its work by 2025. This join up across education, health and social care at the national level is vital to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.
- the Government’s practice guides for frontline professionals in mainstream settings.
More needs to be done: definition of SEND and specialist workforce
But as the coalition said in its response to the Improvement Plan more needs to be done, particularly on the definition of SEND and specialist workforce.
We are calling for a broad approach to defining the SEND and specialist workforce, to consider all the different education, health, and care professionals who work with children and young people to identify and support the totality of their needs.
As we mark the coalition’s first anniversary, the RCSLT is very grateful for all the support #SENDInTheSpecialists has generated over the past year. We look forward to continuing to work together to deliver the investment in and planning for the specialist workforce that our children and young people and their families require.
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