New government plans to improve Special Educational Needs provision

A new report released today by the Local Government Ombudsman shows complaints about education and children’s services and the resultant legislative changes the government are suggesting.

Click here for the full report.

In 2012/13 the LGO received more complaints about education and children’s services than in any other area. Out of 20,186 total complaints some 3,432 (17%) related to these areas and SEN complaints in particular amounted to 8.6%. The patterns are said to be much the same for 2013/14.

The main issues which people have raised relate to the delays in the assessment procedure. Poor planning in the transitional phase, failure to provide qualified specialists and unlawful exclusion from school as a result of their SEN are some of the other main issues.

As a result of these complaints the government is looking to make some legislative changes through the Children and Families Bill in September 2014:

  • Extend the responsibilities of councils and educational establishments for provision up to 25
  • Replace statements of SEN with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP)
  • To be created through a single assessment process
  • Work closer with NHS trusts
  • Reduce assessment period from 26 to 20 weeks
  • Consult concurrently rather than sequentially with several schools