consultations Department for Education

Opportunities to change school systems for Children and Young People with SEND

The Department for Education have published several consultations which set out their proposals to improve school systems.

The NNPCF are working on our consultation responses to ensure that the issues most important to SEND families are reflected in proposed changes across admissions, attendance, and behaviour.


Changes to the school admission appeals code

Closes 3rd April 2022


School attendance: improving consistency of support

Closed 28th February 2022


Revised behaviour in schools guidance and suspension and permanent exclusions guidance – GOV.UK (

Closes 31st March 2022

Forums feed back to us all the time about the issues that children and young people with SEND face in the current school system and how the pandemic has affected children and young people with SEND in different ways.

The NNPCF will include these messages in our consultation responses. The points that we will raise will include:

  • The need for cultural change in schools where inclusion and diversity are valued by ALL. This should be reflected through attendance, behaviour, SEND and Medical Needs policies that are coproduced with children, young people, and their parents/carers.
  • Schools should consider how a whole-school approach can meet the needs of all pupils in the school, including pupils with SEN or a disability so that everyone can feel they belong in the school community.
  • Some behaviours are more likely to arise from types of SEN or disabilities. There is a need for the environment to adapt rather than the individual child. Understand the causes of poor attendance/behaviour and use reasonable adjustments.
  • Better early intervention and more targeted support to meet individual pupils’ and families’ needs would help to reduce absence for many children and young people with SEND.
  • Poor attendance and/or behaviour is not just a school’s responsibility – needs social care and health (including mental health) engagement.
  • Each child or young person has unique needs and family circumstances will vary; parents of children with SEND need support not punishment. Fixed penalty notices (and other sanctions) must only be used appropriately as part of the suite of wider of measures.
  • Must link to wider Government legislation, policy and funding constraints e.g., School’s White Paper, SEND Review, Care Review – enshrine culture of listen, understand and support NOT punish. For example, the Care Review reports that families who need support are automatically translated into children who need protection – they often don’t qualify for CWD support so safeguarding teams become involve.
  • Reality is that SEND families often face ‘escalation ladder’ to punitive measures.
  • Families feel disillusioned and become disengaged – based upon years of not being listened to and believed. This leads to poorer outcomes rather than helping children get back into school.

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