consultations Department for Education SEND Review

Latest developments on the SEND Review

NNPCF to join SEND review steering group

The SEND review has now been running for over 2 years and there has been increasing frustration and speculation about the progress of the work.

When the review was set up in 2019, we were not invited to join the review in a formal capacity. At the time, we highlighted the review would lack legitimacy without direct parental input.

However, we have now been asked to join the SEND review steering group. Because we continue to believe that coproduction and a strong family voice is essential, we have decided to accept the invitation.

We will be sharing the same messages we have been for the last two years

Even though, we haven’t been a formal member of the review until now, we have made strong and consistent representations into the review for the past two years.

 In its initial phases in 2019 we arranged a series of local, regional and national events to ensure that the parent-carer voice was heard by the SEND team and insisted that parents should have simple routes to contribute. You can find our representations on WHAT needed to change here: NNPCF conference gives SEND Review seven clear messages – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C

After this, we have continued to work on our input into the review (via the many groups, boards, and established relationships we have access to) and in March 2021, we presented a webinar at our conference on HOW we should deliver the improved outcomes for children and young people with SEND through changing minimum standards, funding, accountability and reporting in the SEND system. You can find this webinar here: NNPCF input into the SEND review – YouTube. The presentation is here Microsoft PowerPoint – NNPCF input in to the SEND review.

We will continue to be transparent and seek to work with colleagues in the SEND sector to influence the review

We have met with other SEND groups including the Special Educational Consortium, the Disabled Children’s Partnership and the Let us Learn Too campaign – all of these groups are asking for similar changes to the system as the NNPCF. These and other groups also do important work representing families. We believe these messages should be heard through as many channels as possible via both campaigning and coproduction

consultations NNPCF work SEND Review

NNPCF work to improve accountability in the SEND system

One of the four priority areas for the NNPCF this year is to improve the accountability across the SEND system – to ensure that those bodies with responsibilities to support children and young people with SEND actually deliver what they are required to (please see the presentation at our AGM in March for the other priorities Microsoft PowerPoint – AGM slides 20210315 (

We are actively working to improve this accountability across three separate projects:

The Single Route of Redress

For the last 3 years, a national trial has been running that allows the SEND tribunal to make non-binding judgements on health and social care services, if there is also a valid educational concern. The evaluation period for the trial has now ended and Ministers are due to make a decision about whether to mainstream the trial powers of the tribunal. The trial period itself ends on the 31 August 2021.

The NNPCF has been clear that we would like to see this trial made permanent and has been participating in meetings with the Department for Education and the Ministry of Justice. Although not possible at present, we would also like to see the powers of the tribunal extended to make binding recommendations on health and social care in the future.

You can see the quarterly updates from the single route of redress national trial here Newsletters – Mott MacDonald (

Local area inspections

Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission have been looking at how the next round of local area inspections should be structured. It is clear that the focus will need to move from an implementation of the SEND reforms onto an assessment of how well local areas are meeting the needs of CYP with SEND and improving outcomes. As a part of this we would like to see the inspectorate focus on things such as how well do local education, health and care plan and deliver services together, how SEND money is spent in the system, early

intervention, inclusion in mainstream schools and coproduction with families and parent carer forums.

We are also pleased to see that the current round of local area inspection are due to resume. See the announcement and guidance from Ofsted. Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update – GOV.UK (

The SEND review

We also believe that legislative and regulatory changes to the SEND system are required to improve accountability. We have shared these ideas with the SEND review team. These include:

· A consistent national definition of services that available to families with some minimum standards

· Time limits lined for delivery of services

· Guidance on who pays for what across the system

· More transparency on how money is spent

· Gather smarter statistics to show where services are not meeting standards

You can see more on the input we have put into the SEND review in our presentation to the joint NNPCF / Contact conference in March.

Department for Education SEND Review

NNPCF engagement with the SEND Review

At the NNPCF conference on the 7th November, delegates will have the opportunity to create solutions to the issues facing families for input into the SEND review.

In September, the government announced a “Five years on” review of the SEND system. The NNPCF were delighted with this announcement as the we had asked Nadhim Zahawi, the previous Minister for Children and Families for a clear cross governmental strategy for SEND when we met with him in July.

The NNPCF has been heavily engaged in the early stages of the SEND review, working to ensure that the voice of parent carers is central it work. At the onset of the review we met with Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Children and Families and asked her to ensure that the review was truly cross governmental and came up with real, hard hitting recommendations that address the root causes. You can find a record of our meeting here

Since then, NNPCF co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia have met with the head of the review team to explain the work of parent carer forums, our lived experience of the SEND system and make some recommendations about what we think needs to change.

In October, members of the SEND review team attended the NNPCF steering group meeting. In our session, we shared feedback from our members on some of the root causes of the issues in the SEND system and suggested a series of changes that would make the system work more effectively for families.

We will also be hosting a session on the SEND review at our annual conference on the 7th of November when attendees will have the opportunity to co-produce some of the solutions to the issues that the SEND system faces. Although they are unable to lead the session because of restrictions on government activities during an election period, members of the SEND review team will be in attendance.

We are also working with the SEND review team to create more opportunities for parent carer forums including working with regions. We will keep you posted.