Government SEN Proposals

Government SEN Proposals

Today the Government published its plans for SEN Support. It’s being called a new approach to special educational needs and disability. The Green Paper proposes:

a new approach to identifying SEN through a single Early Years setting-based category and school-based category of SEN;

  • a new single assessment process and Education, Health and Care Plan by 2014;
  • local authorities and other services will set out a local offer of all services available;
  • the option of a personal budget by 2014 for all families with children with a statement of SEN or a new Education, Health and Care Plan;
  • give parents a real choice of school, either a mainstream or special school; and
  • introduce greater independence to the assessment of children’s needs.

One of the aims is to get SEN roll numbers to fall. Wrongly labelled’ special needs children will get more pastoral care, as the Green Paper targets family issues that ‘make pupils fall behind’.

More than one in five children in England are identified as having SEN 21% of the school population in January 2010. Only 2.7% have statements. More than half of the pupils, 11.4%, are in the school action category. In recent years the proportion of children with SEN but without statements has nearly doubled, from 10% of all pupils in 1995 to 18.2%, or 1.5 million children, in 2010.

In the green paper, the government calls for the roll-out across the country of a pilot project that has cut the proportion of children on the SEN register by 10%. The Achievement for All scheme currently operating in 10 local authorities identifies why children are falling behind and gives them personalised support. In one case at a school in Coventry, a girl whose family life was chaotic was given lifts to school by a teacher. The government is concerned that at present children are wrongly labelled as having SEN, and that teachers’ expectations of these children are too low.

The consultation process for these plans run from 9 March to 30 June 2011.