Inclusion Now 62

Government’s SEND Review Green Paper consultation: ALLFIE’s perspective

By Simone Aspis, Campaigns and Policy Coordinator, Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE)

What is the consultation ‘Right Support, Right Place and Right Time’ about?

The Government consultation covers the following areas:

  • A single national SEND and Alternative Provision system
  • Streamlining the education, health and care assessments and plans arrangements
  • Excellent Provision from early years to adulthood
  • Reformed and Integrated role for Alternative Provision
  • System roles, accountability and funding reforms
  • Delivering changes for children and families

What’s included in the Government proposals?

At the heart of government proposals, the creation of national SEND standards covers all aspects of the SEND framework from early years to further education, including for alternative provision settings. This sits alongside strengthening the accountability and monitoring role of local authorities and multi-academy trusts.

The national SEND and alternative provision standards will broadly cover:

  1. SEND provision and placement decision making processes, with the aim of ensuring that Disabled children with the same needs will be catered for within the same type of education setting regardless of residence. Whilst the Government has not indicated which needs can and should be catered for within mainstream education settings, special schools have nevertheless been suggested for children with complex needs. Local authorities will be required to publish a local inclusion plan, including a list of the available schools and post-16 education providers that can meet the specific needs of Disabled children and Young people.
  2. Statutory education, health and care needs assessments, and planning processes, including dispute resolution and redress, will be streamlined. Statutory multi-agency panels will recommend EHC needs assessments, plans, and appropriate placements in line with the SEND national standards; the local authority must take the latter into account before making a final decision. Whilst parents will still be allowed to state a preference for another school, both local authorities and tribunals will still be required to consider placement decisions in line with SEND standards.
  3. A SEND funding banding and tariff system will be introduced and used to allocate funding for the level and type of SEND provision being offered by individual schools. Clusters of specified types of schools catering for specific needs will fall into different funding bands. The tariff will be the capped price that an education provider can charge for service delivery paid for by the local authority. A special school with a high pupil to staff ratio and that provides a broad range of therapy services onsite is more likely to be in a higher funding band category than a mainstream school providing SEND support.

The Green Paper proposals need to be considered within the context of the Government’s existing education policy and spending commitments.

Over the past decade, the Government’s relentless focus on educational standards, pupils’ academic attainment, and school discipline alongside mainstream school and SEND budget cuts has forced many Disabled children into segregated education provision against their wishes. The only specified spending proposals have been committed to the expansion of segregated education including alternative provision.

What is ALLFIE’s stance on the SEND Green Paper?

ALLFIE believes:

  1. The SEND Green Paper proposals constitute a clear and continued violation of Disabled people’s human rights to mainstream education, as set out in UNCRPD Article 24 (on inclusive education). The intention behind the proposals is to reduce the spending on SEND provision for Disabled children and Young people in education settings.
  2. National SEND standards, in which Government/local authorities decide which need types can be afforded and catered for within mainstream education settings, go against any sense of social justice.
  3. The suggestion that Disabled children with complex needs should be placed in a special school is outright disability discrimination, prohibited under the Equality Act in the UK, and incompatible with United Nations Convention (UNCRPD), Article 24 (on inclusive education).
  4. High numbers of Disabled children and Young people from Black and marginalised communities, as well as those living in under-resourced areas, will experience further intersectional discrimination as a result of expanding segregated education. Mass segregation on disability grounds will increase trauma, harm and create further discrimination.

What’s next? How to respond to the SEND Green Paper review

ALLFIE SEND Review Consultation flyer with the slogan: 'Education Not Segregation'ALLFIE is researching evidence to submit a considered response to the Government consultation, on behalf of Disabled people and their allies. We need your help to gather evidence on what does and does not work within the current SEND framework, in upholding rights to inclusive education:

Case studies: What to include

We want to hear how your experiences of the following impact on inclusive education:

  • Local Authority’s SEND policy setting out which needs should be accommodated within mainstream and special schools.
  • Local Authorities’ local funding and tariffs (official or unofficial), that influence SEND provision and placement for children with different needs.
  • Education, health and care assessment and planning arrangements, and their impact upon type of placement.
  • What is and is not working for Disabled children and Young people in mainstream education settings.
  • What needs to be in place to avoid initial placements in segregated education provision (including alternative provision)
  • How can the quality of inclusive education practice be measured and monitored best?

Further reading

We have published a number of briefings providing more detail on ALLFIE’s campaign and how to get involved in our work

Please complete and share ALLFIE’s SEND Review survey