Children and Families Act – Implementation
Last September saw the coming into force of the Children and Families Act, which involved far reaching changes to the framework for special educational needs and disability in England. Despite local authorities saying they were ready for the implementation of these reforms, the calls and emails coming through the DSA helpline show that this does not appear to be the case in practice. Families are reporting particular problems with transfer reviews for children moving from statements to education, health and care plans and also with the implementation of the new rights for young people leaving school and going to college.
The DSA is committed to doing what we can to help remedy this situation. We are working towards this in a number of ways:
Through our membership of SEC (Special Educational Consortium) http://www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/sec
The DSA is part of the SEC steering group and we attend monthly meetings. The steering group has been looking at local authorities’ published information and checking that their policies and procedures comply with the law. Any concerns are being fed back to the Department for Education. So far SEC has looked at the local offer, transitional arrangements, and criteria for assessments and plans across a wide spread of LAs.
Through our membership of SENDIOG (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Organisations Group). This group is convened by the Information Advice and Support Services Network (formerly Parent Partnership Network). It comprises organisations that provide information and advice directly to parents and young people on SEND. Through SENDIOG we have been feeding back examples of non-compliance with the law to the DfE. DfE officials have attended the last two meetings to discuss problems. They have been receptive to our concerns and can follow things up with LAs where necessary.
For individual families we continue to help by providing accurate information and advice via our helpline and on our website