Three things published by the Department for Education:

A letter from Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, to Directors of Children Services (DCSs) in England about the transition of existing statements of special educational needs (SEN) to education, health and care (EHC) plans.

  • A research report providing results from a 2016 survey of over 13,000 parents and young people who received an EHC plan in 2015, showing their views of the process and their EHC plan.
  • An independent review of SEND disagreement resolution arrangements conducted by the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR) and the government response to the review.

This sets out the importance of local authorities meeting the statutory deadline of 31 March 2018 for completing the transfer of all statements of SEN to EHC plans. It also explains that, from April, we will be collecting data monthly from each local authority about the progress they are making, and that the Department is offering support to help them to meet the deadline. A copy of the letter is attached. pdf Edward Timpson letter 30th March 2017

 The EHC plan research report

This report provides results from a survey of over 13,000 parents and young people who received an EHC plan in 2015. The questionnaire, sent in 2016, asked respondents for their views on different aspects of the EHC needs assessment process and the impact of their EHC plan. The report provides results for different groups at the national level and robust local results are available for around two thirds of local authorities. The report conveys positive messages overall and also indicates the parts of the EHC process that local areas may wish to develop further in terms of service users’ satisfaction.   

 Disagreement resolution arrangements and the government response

Following a commitment by the Secretary of State for Education and the Lord Chancellor in the Children and Families Act 2014, the Department commissioned CEDAR, at the University of Warwick, to carry out an independent review of the whole system of disagreement resolution, evaluating its effectiveness for parents, carers and young people. At the same time, government piloted a single route of redress, giving the First-tier Tribunal SEND extended powers to make non-binding recommendations on health and social care aspects of EHC plans. The government report sets out the key findings of the review and describes the steps the government intends to take to respond to the issues raised.

On Saturday 4 March, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson, announced a £215m capital funding boost designed to transform the lives of thousands of children with special educational needs and disabilities by increasing school capacity and making it easier for them to access good school places.

The Department for Education have updated the statutory framework for early years provision

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/596629/EYFS_STATUTORY_FRAMEWORK_2017.pdf

The main change is to relax some of the proposed requirements for staff to hold level 3 qualifications in English and Maths.

The Pre-School Learning Alliance have done a very helpful before/after for those interested in the detail:

https://www.pre-school.org.uk/sites/default/files/summary_of_eyfs_framework_changes_2017.pdf

On 21st February 2017 the government published guidance about the entitlement for students, aged 19 to 25yrs, to EHC Plans

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-19-to-25-year-olds-entitlement-to-ehc-plans/send-19-to-25-year-olds-entitlement-to-ehc-plans

The January 2017 edition of the 0-25 SEND Newsletter, produced by the Department for Education can be downloaded pdf here

The UK Vision Strategy Leadership Group has published its report Shaping the Future, following a six month evaluation and consultation project in the eye health and sight loss sectors.

The report includes:

  • Views on the progress made towards the UK Vision Strategy Outcomes 2013-2018
  • The country context: the key challenges and successes of the Strategy specific to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • Recommendations to shape future collaborative work, including both what future work could focus on and how it could be delivered.

The VK Vision Strategy Group is chaired by Fazilet Hadi, Director of Engagement at RNIB.  More information about the group can be found here.

The report itself is available at http://www.ukvisionstrategy.org.uk/sites/default/files/Shaping%20the%20Future%20Report_APDF.pdf?utm_campaign=7927484_Shaping%20the%20Future%20report%20release

Yesterday, 10th January 2017, the Government announced further funding to support implementation of the SEND reforms.

This relates to Parent Carer Forums and Independent Supporters.

The details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-for-special-educational-needs-support-confirmed

Today the Department for Education has published seven Invitations to Tender for contracts to support special educational needs (SEN) and disability in 2017-18.

The seven contracts will provide total funding of up to £4,812,000 in 2017-18. They are open to voluntary and community sector organisations, social enterprises and others bidding on a not-for-profit basis.

Information can be found on the Contracts Finder website (https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search).

The Invitations to Tender cover:

Proposals should be submitted to the Department by 10am on Monday 30 January 2017.

Questions about the process can be submitted until 9 January 2017 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Answers to all questions will be available on Contracts Finder by 16 January 2017.