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MPs review the success and failures of the SEND reforms in England

Friday 6th July 2018

The education select committee, a group of MPs, held an oral evidence session this week linked to their inquiry looking at the system of support for children with special educational needs and disabilities known as the SEND reforms.  

The committee of MPs heard from Stephen Kingdom, a former Department for Education official, Brian Lamb OBE, Chair to the inquiry into parental confidence in SEN, and Baroness Warnock.

Evidence was scrutinised on many topics, including:

  • How parental confidence and engagement is vital for change and improving the system
  • Improving health and social care support with the education system
  • The difficulties of getting a diagnosis and appropriate support
  • Pressure on school budgets, especially high needs funding 

Baroness Warnock said that she believes that the exclusion of children with SEND is down to the schools' lack of awareness awareness of disability and the financial pressures the school has to undertake.

She also made the point that many teachers aren't trained on how to support children with SEND, and that the schools themselves don't have enough money to fund the support that the children that need extra support to learn.

Brian Lamb, also commented that there has been a considerable rise in admissions for special schools, which means that mainstream schools are failing pupils with SEN.

When asked what concrete steps need to be taken in order for the SEND reforms to be beneficial and effective for all children with SEND, the following recommendations were suggested to the committee:

  • Enhance the role of special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs).
  • Improved join up with health and social care services.
  • Increased funding including for children on SEN support
  • Increase training on 'how to talk to parents' for teachers.

Listen to the full evidence from the committee

You can also read our advice around education and learning or browse past articles on the SEND reforms.