The SEND Review - A Summary

Claire Walley
January 16, 2024

Travel back to 2014, schools, parents and professionals waited with bated breath as the ‘reinvention’ of the SEN system began with the national government reforms. Statements changed to Education Health Care Plans, School Action and School Action Plus disappeared and children with behaviour needs began to be recognised as having social, emotional, and mental health needs…well listed as they did at least, in the main they didn’t get any help! And guess what! It didn’t work.

Our country’s SEN system is failing our most needy children and is being held up by the goodwill of the people that work within it. Fast forward to 2022 and we have the release of the latest SEND reforms with the long-awaited SEND Review.  “The SEND review is a response to the widespread recognition that the system is failing to deliver for children, young people and their families”.

The SEND Review Panel stated that “Over the course of the review, we have listened to a wide range of people, most importantly children, young people, and their families. As the review progressed it became clear that alternative provision is increasingly being used to supplement the SEND system. Therefore, we have looked at the specific challenges facing the alternative provision sector, and proposed potential solutions, as part of this review.

The review has identified 3 key challenges facing the SEND and alternative provision system.

  1. Navigating the SEND system and alternative provision is not a positive experience for too many children, young people, and their families.
  2. Outcomes for children and young people with SEND or in alternative provision are consistently worse than their peers across every measure.
  3. Despite the continuing and unprecedented investment, the system is not financially sustainable.”

So, what are the key features of the SEND Review that parents, families, and schools should be aware of:

  1. The role of Teaching Assistants will be more clearly defined, with a national set of standards for the role.
  2. Special Educational Needs Coordinators must have completed the National SENCO Award before taking on the role. Previously they had up to three years to complete it once in post.
  3. The SEN Register will have a national set of standards which will dictate which children are placed on it and for what reason. This standardising is also being introduced when it comes to identifying children’s needs.
  4. A refocus on the ‘multi agency’ element of the EHCP – with a multi-agency panel making recommendations on placement, assessment, and funding for EHCPs.
  5. EHCPs to become standardised at a national level with one format, rather than changing from local authority to local authority.
  6. Mediation must take place before a tribunal can happen for an EHCP.
  7. More focus on alternative provisions – making sure they have better funding and offer high quality provision.
  8. Local and national ‘data dashboards’ to be introduced to collect useful SEN data.
  9. Funding – national bands introduced for high needs funding for EHCPs.
  10. Funding – schools ‘notional budgets’ to be standardised. Schools will need evidence their areas of need.

This is just a snapshot of the key pieces of legislation change in the SEND review. The review is open to consultation until 1st July. We would strongly recommend looking at the review in detail and offering your own views here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/send-review-division/send-review-2022/. The only way this review can begin to meet the needs of our children is by us making sure our views are heard. The SEN Expert will also be hosting a webinar on The SEND Review in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out for more details.

The SEN Expert offers a range of services for young people, families and schools. We offer support for parents to help navigate the complex world of Special Educational Needs. We will work with you closely to ensure the best for your child.

The SEN Expert was set up by Claire in 2021 following a successful career spanning 12 years in school improvement, special educational needs, safeguarding and the arts.

Claire has worked as a Deputy Headteacher, Assistant Headteacher, Consultant and SENCO in both state and private schools in inner city London, the Southwest, the Midlands and the USA.

Throughout her career, Claire has ensured solid outcomes for the young people she has worked with. Be that a set of good exam grades, a placement in specialist setting or getting a part time job.

Claire is a working mother, and understands the challenges parents face trying to ensure their children are happy and successful. We aim to provide young people with a creative route to the personal and professional adult life they deserve.

Claire sits outside a café with a laptop

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We offer support for families, children, and schools to navigate the complex world of SEN.

Check out our full list of services at our website www.thesenexpert.co.uk or follow us on Instagram @senexpert for daily advice on special educational needs.

The SEN Expert is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 13523478.