Headlines of the SEN and Disability Green Paper

15 March 2011

The Department for Education

SEN and Disability Green Paper was published last week and the Government has now opened the consultation on the proposals for reform it contains.The Paper does not currently mention the place of the arts and culture in the lives of disabled children and young people, nor does it specifically include arts and cultural partners in the plans for voluntary and community sectors.The CLA urges all our signatories and partners who work with disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs to highlight the value of their work to the Department of Education and showcase the offer that our sector can make to key issues such as wellbeing, achievement, progression into the workplace and family support and cohesion.The paper mirrors the coalition’s other policies for health and education, and includes plans to slim down bureaucracy, simplify advice and guidance and give parents more choice over provision and the way budgets are spent. Some of the key headlines include:

  1. The Government will test the option of giving parents and young people personal budgets, so that they can buy in the services that they feel they need;
  2. Special schools are endorsed, and the paper aims to give parents more choice over the kinds of schools young people can attend. Parents and teachers are encouraged to set up Special Free Schools and plans are in place for all existing special schools to one day be given the option to become Academies (starting with those currently assessed by Ofsted as outstanding);
  3. The paper aims to streamline assessment of young people with Special Educational Needs and introduces a new, single ‘Education and Health Care Plan’ for individuals;
  4. Teachers will be given more training in meeting the needs for young people with SEN, with the Pupil premium used to fund any additional educational support in schools;
  5. The Paper sets out plans for new integrated and collaborative approaches to delivery of services for disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs. The Government states that they will provide targeted funding to voluntary and community sector organisations to support the services they provide, and that they will publish a prospectus outlining the services which will be funded in this way.
The ideas and direction of the Green Paper have been broadly welcomed by the sector, though there is concern from some quarters that no one body will be accountable to parents and children and young people for ensuring that the aspirations are met.There are also some serious concerns that immediate local government and NHS budget cuts will mean that much of the infrastructure which would support these reforms will be depleted before these plans are put in place. Some of the support outlined in this paper is currently delivered centrally by local authorities and is funded through school budgets. As more schools become academies and receive their funding directly from Whitehall, this budget will become increasingly reduced.You can read coverage and comment on the launch of the paper here by the Financial Times, Children and Young People Now and the Council for Disabled ChildrenLet us know about the work that you do by getting in touch at and respond to the DfE consultation directly by following this link . The consultation closes on 30 June.