Response to Lenehan Review call for evidence into residential schools


Recently, Dame Christine Lenehan called for evidence to inform her review into the experiences and outcomes of children and young people in residential special schools and colleges (including non-maintained and independent special schools).

Family Voice Surrey fed into the NNPCF (National Network of Parent Carer Forums) response. Parent carers told us that residential placements:

  • helped their child with coping in social settings;

  • reduced the stress of transitions to and from school and the stress of multiple changes and transitions through the day;

  • gave the child confidence and valuable life skills which in turn helped them academically to be able to reach their potential;

  • helped their child learn to relate to their peers and value themselves as part of a group. This is critical for their future ability to be part of a workplace and their own family unit.

  • provided a safe and understanding environment which allows children to make mistakes and with appropriate support learn from them and how to progress. This is unlikely to happen in a mainstream school and the opportunity for residential placement gives the opportunity for appropriately trained and specialist staff to work with the child/young person on a much more intensive level which impacts on their academic and personal development over a significant period.

Although not the stated intention of residential places, the impact on families cannot be underestimated. A good placement can enable a family who may be teetering on the brink of breakdown, to remain as a family. Residential placements also enabled siblings to have family time unencumbered by their siblings with SEND.

Read our response in full here.

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