30 March 2022

Yesterday the Department for Education published a new green paper – SEND Review: Right support Right place Right time.

The paper, SEND Review: Right support Right place Right time, sets out the government’s proposals to improve the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) system in England, as part of a 13-week consultation.

Key proposals include:

  • New national standards for SEND and AP
  • A requirement for new local SEND partnerships to be set up. Each partnership will be tasked with producing a local inclusion plan setting out how the local area will meet the national standards
  • A standardised and digitised education, health and care plan (EHCP) process and template
  • Mandatory mediation – a requirement that families and local authorities engage in mediation prior to registering an appeal to the tribunal
  • Analysis to be commissioned to better understand the support that children and young people with SEND need from the therapy and diagnostic workforce, to inform workforce planning.
  • Requiring the new local SEND partnerships to plan and deliver an AP service focused on early intervention
  • A new National SEND Delivery Board

We welcome the focus on earlier intervention, increasing accountability and reducing local variation.

It will be vital that the Department for Education works closely with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, as well as children and young people, families and professionals across education, health and care, to ensure that the proposals are developed in a way that will deliver positive outcomes and avoid any unintended consequences.

We are also encouraged to see the recognition that work needs to be done to understand the level of need that exists for support from the therapy workforce. Speech and language therapy is a profession in short supply, and action must be taken to address this if support for children and young people with SEND is to be improved.

It will also be crucial that any changes are accompanied by adequate funding to resource overstretched speech and language therapy services.

As Children’s Minister, Will Quince, said: “We know how important it is for children and young people to access the speech and language therapy that they need and that the right funding is fundamental to that.”

The RCSLT will be working with our members, partner organisations and parents/carers to develop a full response to the proposals in the coming weeks. For more information and to get involved, please contact Caroline Wright: caroline.wright@rcslt.org.

Opportunity for all? New schools white paper for England

The Department for Education has published the schools white paper setting out long-term vision for school system