Family Action welcomes the acknowledgement from Government that we need a better system that builds capacity for children and families who require support with SEND, and the investment to start addressing this. However, we are concerned that these plans do not go far enough, and more needs to be done to support families systemically, rather than focusing only on education.
We see first-hand from the services we deliver to children and families that whilst having a ‘superb education’ is an important priority, making lives better for families with SEND is about so much more than this.
We welcome plans for respite care, but there is also a need for early identification and widely available early intervention services to stop needs from escalating and to provide support whilst families wait for a diagnosis.
We also welcome the pledge to train more early years special educational needs co-ordinators, so that children have support as early as possible in an education setting, however there are already recruitment and financial viability issues in this sector, so it must be an attractive role for people to want to take on, and something that early years providers can afford to provide.
Even within education, issues with the SEND system are not all about schools and placements themselves – it is about agencies being able to work together, and with the family, to decide which placements are best for a child and what additional support may be needed, with clear accountability for the decisions taken. It is about parent and child voices being heard, parents being able to navigate the system, and receiving support for the whole family. And it is about ensuring that support services, such as SENDIASS, have the capacity to provide that support.
To be successful at reforming SEND support and to have a positive impact on families, the Government needs to have a systemic approach, not just focusing on education, but on a holistic approach for the whole family, as well as supporting society to become much more inclusive.
Read our previous response to the Government’s SEND Review.