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22 November 2022

Bindmans Head of Education Law signs IPSEA letter challenging government SEND review

2 mins

The Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA) has written a letter to the new Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan MP, raising concerns over the recent Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) review, undertaken by the current government.

Karen May, partner at Bindmans and Head of the Education Law team, has signed the letter, along with many other lawyers with decades of experience of the SEND system.

Karen May comments:

Unfortunately, the recent SEND review fails to grapple with children being let down by local authorities not complying with key requirements under the Children and Families Act 2014, and horrendous delays in getting key decisions and provision in place. Instead, the SEND review proposes mandatory mediation which is very likely to lead to further significant delays in provision being put in place for children with special educational needs. In addition, the green paper suggests inconsistency amongst local authorities with young people receiving too much specialist provision. Our experience is the opposite to this, and families have to go to great lengths to secure suitable specialist provision. In these circumstances, I am pleased to add my name to a very important letter from IPSEA to the Secretary of State for Education.

The Children and Families Act 2014 brought major changes to the legal framework for children with special educational needs. Prior to 2014, children with special educational needs had statements of special educational needs (Statements), instead of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), that laid out the arrangements for a child’s special educational provision. However, the Statement process failed to provide a holistic approach to a child’s special educational needs and the support required, and issues regarding health and social care had to be mostly dealt with separately. The 2014 Act brought in Education, Health and Care plans to provide a holistic approach for children with special educational needs. The framework under the 2014 Act contains a clear process with timescales, and ensures there is a statutory obligation to put in place special educational provision for vulnerable children with special educational needs. The recent SEND review should be addressing the instances in which these obligations are not met.

Read the letter in full here.

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