National context - Encouraging SEND messages from Secretary of State for Education

The Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, spoke to the Association of Directors of Children's Services conference on Thursday 5 July in Manchester saying, ‘SEND is a huge priority for my department – and we’ll be saying more about all of this in the coming months.’

You can read the full speech at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/education-secretary-makes-inaugural-speech-to-childrens-services-sector

He highlighted areas of focus as:

  • Making mainstream schools more inclusive in meeting SEND needs: thereby optimising SEND placement in specialist provision, alternative provision and home education where appropriate, by:

  • Dealing with pre-emptive (at time of selection/ entry), formal and informal exclusion - off-rolling, by schools: saying “Every school is a school for pupils with SEND; and every teacher is a teacher of SEND pupils. And all schools and colleges – alongside central and local government – have a level of responsibility here, it cannot just be left to a few.”

  • Equipping and incentivising schools to do better for SEND children and young people: giving them support and training to offer strong support to many more children and young people with ECH plans and high quality SEN support for those without plans; and having a system that sufficiently rewards schools for their work with pupils who need extra support, and encourages schools to focus on all pupils, not just the highest achievers.

  • Putting children, young people and parents at the heart of decision making on education setting selection ‘Children, young people and parents should – and do – have a strong say in all of this, … “

  • Increasing efforts to help SEND young people into employment: able to access opportunities that will help them find employment – building on the work done, such as the supported internships programme.

  • Enhancing partnership working: between Department of Education, Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England to support local authorities and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to more effectively plan and commission SEND provision

  • Continuing local area SEND inspections and WSA monitoring

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums has welcomed the speech, as does Family Voice Surrey. We look forward to working with NNPCF on these matters, and on seeking more funding for SEND – both for ECH plans and SEN support.

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