Latest Public Sector News

15.05.12

SEN control for parents

Control for special education needs (SEN) budgets is to be given to parents, as part of a package of reforms.

Instead of local authorities being the only provider, parents will be able to choose support.

The reforms will also legally bind education, health and social care services to plan services for SEN children together. The changes were set out yesterday by the minister for children and families, Sarah Teather.

From 2014, SEN and separate learning difficulty assessments will be replaced by a single assessment plan that runs from birth to 25 years. Managing the budgets will be optional for parents, and the Government is trialling multiple approaches.

Teather said: “Thousands of families have had to battle for months, even years, with different agencies to get the specialist care their children need. It is unacceptable they are forced to go from pillar to post – facing agonising delays and bureaucracy to get support, therapy and equipment.”

Alison Ryan, a policy adviser for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Many parents can be the best advocates for their children's needs, but you cannot say that for every parent. Sometimes it may be a matter of their own ability to decide on the best type of expert assistance for their children.”

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