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Bills and legislations Department for Education NNPCF Steering Group white paper

NNPCF Meeting with DfE Schools White Paper Team

Last week, members of the NNPCF steering group and management team met with officials from the Department for Education working on the Schools White Paper.

The DfE team covered the main tenants of the Bill outlined here Schools Bill: policy statements – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Key amongst these are the ambitions laid out in the Bill and the four strategies that underpin the legislation focussed on teaching, standards, targeted support and changes to the schools’ system.

The NNPCF are very concerned about the headline provisions in the bill around attainment, attendance and behaviour. When crude and simplistic approaches are taken, these are areas that can challenge children and young people with SEND. The overarching messages surrounding the Schools’ Bill are very troubling for our membership.

However, within the detailed provisions, there are many measures that we welcome and have been asking for over many years such as promoting an enriched curriculum and access to specialist support. But these more positive messages have been lost in the detail. The headlines around attainment, attendance and behaviour are dominating the agenda and we believe will come to overshadow the implementation of the Bill unless corrected.

The headlines from the Schools’ Bill are very concerning

The NNPCF expressed significant concerns to the DfE on some of the messages being promoted about the proposals, most notably:

Attainment

The White Paper lays out ambitions for attainment at key stage 2 (90% of learners to reach the expected standard in English and Maths) and key stage 4 (a rise in the average GSCE grade for English and Maths from 4.5 to 5). The NNPCF have several concerns with this approach

  • There is a danger that these “ambitions” for the whole system very rapidly become “targets” or “benchmarks” for schools, multi-academy trusts and local authorities. The DfE team took great lengths to emphasise that individual schools, trusts or local authorities will not be held to account for reaching these targets and Ofsted have confirmed that this will not form a part of their inspections. However, the NNPCF believes that these will become de facto measures of success and further incentivise schools to be less inclusive.
  • The focus on academic attainment devalues the more holistic success of many children and young people with SEND. We urged the DfE to look to broader, more individual measures of progress beyond grades.

Behaviour and Attendance

The legislation calls for a “relentless focus on behaviour and attendance”. Again, this poses significant risks for the SEND community:

  • This fails to take into account the underlying causes of behavioural concerns and lower attendance for children and young people with SEND. Unmet needs, blanket policies and emotionally or anxiety based issues are increasing in the SEND community and taking a harder line on behaviour and attendance will entrench existing concerns and cause further issues. Please see our recent post in response to the Attendance Audit by the Children’s Commissioner Children’s Commissioner’s Attendance Audit – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C (nnpcf.org.uk)

The regulatory system

The schools Bill proposes changes to the regulatory system for multi-academy trusts – namely a shake-up of the regional schools’ commissioners into new regional Educational Directorates with increased powers and the rationalisation of schools regulation into a single common rule book for academies.

  • However, there remains much ambiguity between the role and accountability of individual schools, multi-academy trusts, regional DfE directorates and local authorities. This lack of clarity carries significant risks for the most vulnerable children including those with SEND who may fall through the cracks (as many do now). You can find more on our concerns here The SEND Green Paper: NNPCF briefing – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C

However, there are some more positive details that we welcome

  • Most importantly, a strong multi-academy trust is defined as one that provides “high quality and inclusive education.” From the outset, we are pleased that there is a recognition that goods schools are inclusive schools.
  • The Bill contains measures for a diverse and enriched curriculum which will benefit many children with SEND in a way that a narrow academically based curriculum limits them.
  • Provisions on mental health and pastoral support are included which are so important to enable many children with SEND to flourish.
  • There are specific requirements on targeted support that is holistic covering academic, pastoral and specialist interventions (or a combination) where needed
  • Increased powers for a local authority to admit a pupil to a specific school
  • Greater controls on cases where pupils are moved between schools

The DfE will be launching a review into the new regulatory system proposed and a consultation into the new statutory pupil movement framework. The DfE agreed to engage with the NNPCF on both these activities.

Categories
consultations Department for Education Education NNPCF work Parent Carer Forums SEND Review

NNPCF launch SEND Green Paper consultation survey for all parent carers.

The NNPCF have recently launched their parent carer survey on the SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper consultation.

They hope to collect as many responses as possible from all parent carers, not just those who are involved in their local parent carer forums.

The responses of the survey will help to inform the NNPCF’s own response to the SEND Green Paper consultation.

Co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia stated that, “The Green Paper is an opportunity to reset the SEND system after the 2014 reforms failed to deliver the improvements that families of children with SEND so desperately need. It is vital that every parent carer’s voice is heard and so we have launched a short, simple survey to gather parental views that we will use to inform our response to the Green Paper. We will, of course, also publish the survey results.”

You can complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/J63QX22

The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete and remains open until the 30 June.

Categories
Bills and legislations Department for Education Education NNPCF work Parent Carer Forums SEND Review

The SEND Green Paper: NNPCF briefing

What does it say and what does the NNPCF think about it?

The NNPCF co-chairs, Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia held a briefing on the contents of the long-awaited SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper consultation for parent carer forums on 23 May.

A recording of the session can now be viewed by following the links below:

YouTube recording of the briefing

Slides from the briefing

Mentimeter survey results

The NNPCF have also published their parent carer survey.

They hope to collect as many responses as possible from all parent carers, not just those who are involved in their local parent carer forums.

The responses of the survey will help to inform the NNPCF’s own response to the SEND Green Paper consultation.

Co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia stated that, “The Green Paper is an opportunity to reset the SEND system after the 2014 reforms failed to deliver the improvements that families of children with SEND so desperately need. It is vital that every parent carer’s voice is heard and so we have launched a short, simple survey to gather parental views that we will use to inform our response to the Green Paper. We will, of course, also publish the survey results.”

You can complete the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/J63QX22

The survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete and remains open until the 30 June.

Categories
consultations Department for Education Education Minister for children and families Parent Carer Forums SEND Review

SEND Green Paper engagement events with the Department for Education and parent carer forums

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and alternative provision (AP) consultation was published at the end of March. The NNPCF have been working with the Green Paper team at the Department for Education (DfE) to organise a series of engagement events for parent carer forums to feedback and discuss the plans outlined in the Green Paper.

There are three different categories of events:

A national webinar hosted by NNPCF co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia – 12 noon 23 May

At this event Mrunal and Tina will share the initial NNPCF response to the proposals. The session will step through the Green Paper outlining which proposals the NNPCF supports and which we have concerns about. The session will be interactive, and we will be seeking flash feedback from parent carer forums on their views of some of the proposals in the Green Paper. We will also outline the different ways that parent carer forums as well as individual parents can respond to the consultation and have their voices heard.

To sign up for this event please use the following link: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZModeCvrTwoGNUve-OwXisL0SQaUniHSchz

Regional events hosted by the Department for Education for Parent Carer Forums

The DfE Green Paper team will be attending NNPCF regional events to share the thinking behind the Green Paper and to have a discussion with regional parent carer groups about their thoughts on the proposals. In these sessions the DfE team will offer a short presentation of 20-30 minutes and then will take feedback and questions relating to the Green Paper for the rest of the hour. The objective of these sessions is to offer parent carer forums the opportunity to have frank and honest exchanges with the DfE team. The sessions will not be recorded due to confidentiality reasons.

The schedule of events is as follows:

RegionDateTimeVirtual or in person meeting
North East26 May11am – 12.30pmVirtual
North West   
Yorkshire and Humber24 May10amIn person York
West Midlands16 May1pmVirtual
East Midlands8 June10amVirtual
East of England12 May10am-2pmIn person – Cambridge
London
16 May 10am-12.30pmVirtual
South East20 May10am-12noonVirtual
South West10 May12:30pm-2pmVirtual (Teams)
Please note, any gaps to the table will be filled once confirmed by the DfE.
Details of how to join these meetings will be sent out through the usual regional parent carer forum channels.

National SEND review briefing hosted by Minister Will Quince

We are currently working with the DfE to organise a national webinar. This will give parent carer forums the opportunity to discuss and feedback to the DfE on the proposals set out in the Green Paper. Children and Families Minister Will Quince will host this event. Once the dates have been confirmed we will publish the webinar, with more information including how to register for the session.

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Department for Education Education white paper

Initial NNPCF response to the Schools White Paper

Yesterday saw the publication of the Schools’ White Paper, Opportunity for All (Opportunity for all – Strong schools with great teachers for your child (publishing.service.gov.uk)). This will form the basis of new legislation for schools and part of a package of reforms along with the SEND review.

This paper outlines our initial response to the contents of the document. Many of the key proposals in the White Paper have been discussed in the mainstream media, we will not focus on these broader proposals here, rather we will focus on those elements that are most relevant the children and young people with SEND.

Some key points include:

  • We are pleased that a strong multi-academy trust is defined one that provides a “high quality and inclusive education.” The review, regulation and enforcement of this will be key.
  • The target for 90% of children to meet targets for reading, writing and maths could be a very strong incentive for schools to focus on getting SEND provision right – if approximately 15% of children have SEND, it will be impossible to reach this target without strong SEND focus. However, we do have strong concerns about unintended consequences of this:
    • because this is across the whole system and will not apply to individual schools or trusts there may be incentives for individual schools to schools to off roll or discourage SEND pupils from attending. The accountability, inspection and regulatory framework will need to be strong to counter this.
    • a purely academic measure of success and focus on tests may be harmful to the mental health and well being of many pupils – we would like to see wider definitions of what success looks like for pupils.
  • The “Parent Pledge” may offer additional rights to parent-carers of children on SEN support to get support more quickly. However, the paper is silent on a more diverse range of support such as therapy services.
  • Likewise, the emphasis on targeted support is very welcome – however, the focus remains very strongly on tutoring – we would like to see more about the other non-academic support (e.g. speech and language or occupational therapy) that many SEND children need.
  • We have repeatedly called for greater clarity in the accountability of mainstream schools and in particular academies when it comes to SEND (see our post on our discussions with Baroness Barran NNPCF Steering Group meet with Minister on Schools White Paper – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C.). The White Paper goes some way towards tidying up the current confused accountability in the schools system. However, the responsibilities for ensuring that schools and trusts meet the needs of SEND children remains unclear – it is vital that the role of DfE Regional Directors and Local Authorities are clarified. At the moment, SEND children risk falling through the gaps again.
  • There remains a strong focus on behaviour and attendance throughout the paper – if implemented crudely, this may again prove a disincentive to inclusive schools. We would like to see more said about a requirement on schools to meet children’s needs promptly and an understanding that much “bad behaviour” results from unmet needs.
  • There is no mention of SEND in the remit for the new curriculum body that is proposed – the relationship between this and the minimum standards for SEND proposed in the SEND Green Paper requires greater clarity.
  • Finally, there are several welcome proposals for the SEND community such as the additional training of SENCos, the mention of school mental health teams, the continued focus of Ofsted on off-rolling and the steer towards a broad curriculum featuring sports, music and culture.

We will be working with the Department for Education as these proposals are further developed and we will be organising events for parent carer forums to gather your views over the coming weeks.

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consultations Department for Education SEND Review

SEND Green Paper – response from the NNPCF

The long awaited SEND Green Paper was published this morning. In this article, the NNPCF steering group present their initial response and analyse where the Green Paper delivers what parent carer forums had asked for, where it doesn’t go far enough and where we have significant concerns.

You can find the Green Paper here: SEND review: right support, right place, right time – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

You can also download a copy of this response here:

Introduction

The SEND review has been a long time in the making. It was originally launched in the summer of 2019. Delayed by general elections, government reshuffles and Covid 19, it represents an opportunity to reset and further reform the SEND system following the 2014 Children and Families Act..

The NNPCF have had a lot of input into the SEND review. When it was initially launched in 2019, the SEND review team met with the NNPCF steering group several times and they attended our 2019 conference where we devoted a whole afternoon to coproducing the NNPCF input. NNPCF conference gives SEND Review seven clear messages – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C

Following this the NNPCF steering group continued to engage with the SEND review and at our conference last year we presented our views on how the SEND system needed to change

We updated this at our conference last week

In Autumn 2021, the SEND review was re-set following the pandemic and NNPCF co-chairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia were invited to join the reconstituted steering group. After careful deliberation, the NNPCF board decided that Tina and Mrunal should join the Review Steering Group once we had been satisfied that it was an opportunity to coproduce solutions and not just rubber stamp proposals. This group first met in late 2021.

In this paper, we step through the key things we have asked for from the SEND review and assess to what extent it delivers on this. We will also look at some areas that the Green Paper is proposing things that we did not ask for and we disagree with.

Context

The SEND review cannot be seen in isolation. There are three other major pieces of legislation / policy in train that will have a major impact upon the lives of children and young people with SEND. They are:

The Schools White Papera major change in legislation for schools. This was released yesterday – you can find it here (Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). It focuses on quality of teaching, standards, targeted support and the schools’ system. We will publishing our initial response to the White Paper shortly.

The Children’s Social Care Reviewthis independent review is being run by Josh MacCallister. The NNPCF has had extensive engagement with the review NNPCF input into children’s social care review – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C including hosting a webinar The Children’s Social Care Review – “The Case for Change”

The Health and Care Bill – the bill that will establish Integrated Care Systems to replace clinical commissioning groups. The NNPCF have done a lot of work with NHSE to understand the changes and what they will mean for children and young people with SEND and parent carer forums.

We will be publishing an update on the Health and Care Bill in the next few days.

What is wrong with the SEND system

Before any solutions, there needs to be a clear understanding of the problem. The DfE Green Paper adopts the problem analysis as put forward by parent carer forums.

The 2014 SEND reforms were based on the right principles – coproduction, person centred services and joint working. However, they were implemented into an environment that meant that they could not be effectively implemented. The problems included:

  • Incentives and accountability of leaders
    • Schools aren’t incentivised to be inclusive
    • SEND is too often a low priority across health and social care
    • Poor accountability and few consequences for failure
  • Leaders, managers and staff aren’t equipped and supported to deliver
    • They don’t know the law
    • The system hasn’t made the cultural changes needed
  • Money – There just isn’t enough money in the system and the money that is in the system isn’t being used effectively
  • Not enough coproduction is taking palace – both strategic and individual

This has led to a vicious circle of services not listening to families and seeking to protect scarce resources or prioritising other measures (e.g. school league tables). This leads to families not getting the services they need and because accountability and redress in the system is confused more time passes which results in the situation worsening whilst trust declines and anger increases.

We are pleased that the SEND review has agreed with and adopted this problem analysis.

What needs to change?

Based on this, forums outlined seven things they said needed to change at the 2019 NNPCF conference. These are:

These are the things that parent carer forums believe need to change. We need to coproduce with the system to identify the levers that will actually deliver these changes.

How do we change it?

Following on from this, the NNPCF steering group worked with system partners (most notably the Department for Education and NHSE) to identify the practical steps that needed to be taken to deliver these changes..

We identified five key areas:

In the remainder of this paper, we analyse where we got what we asked for, where we have had partial success and / or need more clarity and the areas that we are very concerned about.

The Green Paper contains a lot of what we asked for

A set of minimum standards

The Green Paper proposes to create a single national SEND system with national standards and promises to review the SEND code of practice to ensure it is fit for purpose. There will be a standardised and digitised EHCP process and templates. We would like to see this go a little further and specify the reasonable adjustments that children and young people can expect.

Clarity on joint commissioning and who pays for what

It will establish new local SEND partnerships across education, health and care that must produce a local inclusion plan. There will be greater clarity on who pays for what based upon more rigorous understanding and analysis of local needs that is coproduced with families. This will formalise the joint planning, working, and commissioning that is needed in the system.

There is a greater focus on workforce development in schools

The Green Paper proposes the introduction of a new NECO NPQ in schools and increase the number of SEND qualified staff in schools. This needs to go further and include health and social care practitioners as well and must ingrain the values of coproduction.

A greater focus on implementation

The Green Paper proposes a National SEND delivery plan. One of the failings of the 2014 reforms was inadequate planning and focus on how the reforms would be implemented. Because the key data gathered focussed on the conversion of statements to EHCP, this became the objective of the reforms. We welcome the role of a new national SEND Delivery Board to oversee this process.

The additional money going into the system

The Green Paper outlines more money to be spent on education generally and SEND in particular. This is much needed investment – we have consistently been calling for more money in the SEND system and for it to be spent more effectively.

There are many areas where we need more clarity

We do not understand how responsibilities, powers, accountability and regulation will work in the new system.

We welcome the increased focus on accountability in the Green Paper and we are encouraged by the new requirements on ICSs in the latest version of the Health and Care Bill. However, we do not yet have sufficient clarity on how powers, responsibilities, accountability, and regulatory oversight will be organised across local authorities, schools, DfE regional directors (replacing schools commissioners) and health systems. There is a danger that in a confused system, the needs of children and families are lost. This was one of the greatest failings of the 2014 reforms, the perverse incentives and mis-aligned accountability in the system meant that different commissioners and providers did not prioritise or work together effectively enough.

New national system of banding and price tariffs

The Green Paper proposes a new national system of funding and tariffs which will include funding levels for all provisions including the independent special school sector. We do not know how this will work – whilst we welcome greater clarity on funding arrangements and bandings, we must ensure that the bandings and tariffs set are sufficient to meet needs and do not discourage education, health and care providers from supplying these services that families need.

We do not know how the new redress process will work

Currently, too many families have to go to tribunal to get what they are entitled to. Streamlining the redress process to prevent this from being necessary is clearly welcomed. But without further clarity on how mandatory mediation and independent review will work, we fear that families could still end up in tribunal but simply having had to wait even longer. If mediation and independent review is to work, it must be shown to be truly objective and must have some powers to compel local authorities, schools, health and care services to follow rulings.

Relationship with other key pieces of legislation and policy development

It is hard to assess the impact of the SEND Green Paper on its own. Much of the environment in which it will operate will be determined by the Schools White Paper, the outcome of the Independent Review into Children’s Social Care and the Health and Care Bill. We must ensure that the system created for children and young people with SEND is coherent across all of these areas of policy development – most notably the incentives, powers and responsibilities of different players across the system – for example, the schools White Paper must stipulate that a good school is a truly inclusive school.

There are some things we are concerned about

We are very worried about the process for naming a place with an EHCP

The Green paper will amend the process for naming a place within an EHCP, enabling parents to name a preference from a tailored list of appropriate settings.   

We understand that this is an attempt to cap spiralling costs of expensive specialist provision. The root cause of cost pressures on the system are a result of inadequate services that force families to seek more specialised support for their children. At a minimum these lists must be coproduced with parent carer forums and individual tailored lists must be coproduced with families. Most importantly, families must retain the right of redress through mediation or tribunal in the case of a disagreement (as they do now).

The Green Paper is silent on those young people not destined for further education, training or work.

The Green Paper focusses very heavily on educational and employment outcomes. Whilst we welcome the ambition, we must recognise there is a proportion of young people with SEND for whom that is not the right outcome (e.g. those with complex needs). The Paper must recognise the need to provide the right outcomes (e.g. independent or supported living) for this group.

Not enough about Health and Social Care

The Green paper is very focussed on schools and local authorities. It says little on health and care providers and commissioners. If we are to create a joined up system, we must have clarity on what is expected from other key sectors.

Next steps

The Green Paper is a consultation document. The consultation will run for 13 weeks and close on 1st July 2022.

The Department for Education has committed to holding a national event with the NNPCF and events in each of the regions for parent carer forums to feed into the consultation.

In addition, we will be hosting independent events to gather PCF views. We will share details of these are they are set up – there will be a mixture of regional and national events.

We are also working on a large parental survey with other parental groups such as Special Needs Jungle, the Disabled Children’s Partnership and Let us Learn Too. We want to gather thousands of parental views on the proposals and ensure that the parental voice is loud and clear and cannot be ignored through the consultation process. We will be sharing the survey in the next few weeks.

We will also continue to coproduce with the Department for Education and other partners through this period. In particular:

  • We have asked the DfE to ensure that the powers, responsibilities, incentives and accountability of ALL of the commissioners and providers in the new proposed system are understood and mapped. These must also be tested with individual case studies to see how children and young people will be treated in the new system.
  • We must also continue to monitor the development of the Schools White Paper, the Health and Care Bill and the Independent Review into Children’s Social Care and understand the impact this will have on the SEND system.

Appendix 1: How do we change the SEND system?

The detail from the NNPCF “Skunkworks” sessions.

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Department for Education

Attendance, behaviour and exclusions

March 2022

Attendance, behaviour and exclusions of children and young people at school remains a major focus for the Department for Education and the wider education sector at the moment. For example, this week, the Children’s Commissioner published a report into the current state of school attendance. Where are England’s Children? Interim findings from the Children’s Commissioner’s Attendance Audit | Children’s Commissioner for England (childrenscommissioner.gov.uk)

Last week, NNPCF Cochairs Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia met with different teams from the DfE who are working on guidance and legislation across these areas.

We have had very clear feedback from parent carer forums on the underlying issues underpinning these areas which we reiterated to the DfE teams – namely that in the majority of cases, concerns with behaviour and attendance for children with SEND should be regarded as a failure of the system that is there to support them:

  • Families tell us that many SEND pupils are being failed by schools and feel that they do not get the right support from the system which means they are unable to attend school or become frustrated and angry.
  • Anxiety is a major factor in low attendance for many children and young people with SEND and this has been exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic.
  • Most parents of children with SEND that are being home educated do not do so by choice – it is because they feel that there is no alternative for them.
  • Penalising (including fining) children or parents for poor attendance at school simply does not work for SEND families – this simply adding additional pressures to families that are already often under extreme strain.
  • We emphasised the importance of reasonable adjustments to make sure that children with SEND could remain and prosper in school environments that are often very challenging for them.
  • We signposted the teams to work such as the autism in schools project that focusses on early intervention, reasonable adjustments and proper support as being examples of best practice.
  • We asked the DfE to ensure it took a joined up approach across areas all three areas and guidance to ensure that schools and families did not get mixed messages.

We posted last week on how you can have your say into these ongoing consultations – you can find the NNPCF website article here:

Opportunities to change school systems for Children and Young People with SEND – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C (nnpcf.org.uk)

We also directed the team to our recent work on attendance and home education for more details. You can find the relevant articles on the NNPCF website:

Education Committee Inquiry into Home Education – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C (nnpcf.org.uk)

School attendance for children and young people with SEND – National Network of Parent Carer Forums C.I.C (nnpcf.org.uk)

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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.

Admissions

Changes to the school admission appeals code

Closes 3rd April 2022

Attendance

School attendance: improving consistency of support

Closed 28th February 2022

Behaviours

Revised behaviour in schools guidance and suspension and permanent exclusions guidance – GOV.UK (www.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.
Categories
Department for Education NNPCF work SEND Review

SEND review – engagement opportunities for parent carer forums

The NNPCF steering group has been working with a variety of stakeholders to offer parent carers and forums the opportunity to be briefed and engage in the SEND Green Paper. This post updates you on what we are planning and how you can get involved.

The SEND review has been a long time in the making. It was originally launched in the summer of 2019. Delayed by general elections, government reshuffles and Covid 19, it represents an opportunity to reset and further reform the SEND system following the 2014 Children and Families Act.

The latest information we have suggests that the resultant SEND Green Paper will be published before the end of March. Although, this is subject to last minute change, we are hopeful that the conference will provide a platform for Ministers and the Department for Education to share the contents of the Green Paper just after its publication.

This post outlines this and other engagement opportunities we are planning to ensure that Parent Carer Forums are briefed and our voice is heard as clearly as possible through the Green Paper consultation process.

7th March 2022 – Children and Families Minister Will Quince will be presenting a webinar that is jointly hosted by the NNPCF, Special Needs Jungle, Contact and the Family Fund. The Minister will share some information about the work of the review and will answer some questions set by parents. NNPCF Cochair, Tina Emery will be one of the joint facilitators of this event. Booking details for this event were shared on Tuesday 1st March. All 200 places have already been taken. If you have booked and are unable to attend, please let us know so we can offer your place to someone else. Note: because this is BEFORE the publication of the Green Paper, we do not believe Minister Quince will be in a position to share details of its content.

23rd March – Minister Will Quince is booked to appear at the NNPCF / Contact virtual conference. We are hopeful that the Green Paper will have been published by this time and so Minister Quince will be able to comment on the details. If so, this will be one of the very first engagement events after its publication.

24th March – we are in the process of planning a full-blown engagement session with the Department for Education at the joint NNPCF / Contact conference. We are hopeful that the SEND review team will be able to join the session and it will be an opportunity for parent carer forums to give some early feedback on the contents of the Green Paper. At this session NNPCF cochairs Mrunal Sisodia and Tina Emery will also share their initial thoughts and response – to what extent does the paper incorporate the things that PCFs asked for?

Please look out for the conference booking link that will be circulated shortly to book onto these events.

Note: please be aware that all these plans are subject to change. As you know the SEND review has already been delayed many times and it is possible there may be further changes that are beyond our control.

After the above events, there will be other engagement events planned by the Department for Education. The schedule has not yet been finalised or published but we will share this with you as soon as we have further details.

In addition, we are planning a large parental survey to ensure that as many families as possible have the opportunity to input into the Green Paper proposals. To maximise its reach and ensure that the key messages are amplified, we are planning to coproduce and distribute the survey with other parental representative groups including Special Needs Jungle, Let us Learn Too and the Disabled Children’s Partnership.

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Covid-19 Department for Education NHS England

NNPCF input into planning for Omicron

You will all be aware that the omicron variant is now spreading in England. The NNPCF have been involved in several conversations with the Department for Education and NHS England about what this means for children and young people (CYP)with SEND.

Whilst we cannot predict the impact of omicron on services some very familiar topics have been discussed including wearing of masks, covid testing of children, supply of teachers and teaching assistants, remote education, blended learning, school rotas and the potential for full school closures.

Through these discussions we have been emphasising some key points:

· The need to coproduce any solutions with families – no blanket solutions and policies should be implemented and services should ensure the particular needs of CYP with SEND and their families are understood.

· The need to make reasonable adjustments for CYP with SEND to ensure that they can continue to access services and education

Whilst the government have stated that schools will only be closed in a national lockdown as a last resort, we must recognise the risk that with widespread omicron infections, some individual schools may need to close because of staff not being available either because of illness or the need to isolate

You can find the latest DfE guidance here, much of it has been updated this week: Guidance for schools: coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

At the same time, NHS leaders have issued a letter to NHS trusts and commissioners. You will see point 4 makes specific reference to learning disability and autism services. We have also raised concerns with both NHSE and the DfE that the vaccination drive may lead to health services for CYP with SEND being diverted to the vaccination effort.

Please keep in touch with your NNPCF steering group member to feed back what is happening in your local area. We rely upon your feedback to both to ensure we are representing your views and also to alert the DfE and NHSE to real issues in your areas.