A major review into Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision has been announced by the Department for Education, which aims to equip staff in schools and colleges to respond effectively to their students’ needs, improve the services available to families who need support, as well as ending the ‘postcode lottery’ they often face.
The review will explore how the system can be made to work best for all families and how to standardise quality of provision across the country, as well as how to implement more joined-up approaches with the Department of Health and Social Care.
The announcement promises that the review will be followed by actions on these issues. Tony McArdle, Lead Commissioner in Northamptonshire County Council, will be the new chair of the SEND System Leadership Board, and will act as an independent advisor to the review, alongside Education Endowment Foundation Chair, Sir Kevan Collins, and Anne Heavey, National Director of Whole School SEN.
As the North East has one of the highest percentages of SEN pupils in the country, with 15.8% of total pupils, higher than the national average, it is incredibly important that the review follows through on the DfE’s promise to standardise quality of provision. Moreover, the North East has received less funding for SEN than other regions, and so any action from this review needs to be paired with sufficient funding to put this into place.