Special Educational Needs in schools – have you noticed any difference?
Not many more sleeps or get-ups until the last day of term and the start of the long summer holidays (Hooray!). You may have forgotten, or perhaps you never knew in the first place, that the whole system for SEN changed at the start of this school year, way back in September 2014.
Statements are being phased out and are being replaced by Education Health and Care Plans – have you ever heard of them?
Not all local authorities and schools have the same timetable and priorities, and even their plans look different, but some things should be available all over the country. For example, there should be much more information being provided to you if your child is transferring to the new system, or if you are applying for the first time. And your views should be taken into account much more than seemed to be the case sometimes in the past.
Another change is the fact that you’re entitled to impartial and independent support – separate from anything the school or local authorities (LA) provide. If you are in this position and haven’t yet been told about Independent Supporters, then please ask someone - your school if they haven’t closed yet, the LA, or the local SEN advisory service, usually called SENDIASS.
Another channel open to you is the excellent NDCS website. This has easy to use guides, summary information, including some in BSL – and even a dedicated helpline. Have a look in the “Family support” section, search for SEN Reforms or simple click on http://tinyurl.com/nqxl9rx.
If you want the national view, the Council for Disabled Children is one of the lead organisations in these developments, providing training, information and other services across the country. They have some very good factsheets and guides – simply go to http://www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/resources
Any problems or questions, do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m sure we’ll be able to point you in the right direction.