Special Educational Needs and Disability


The Department for Education (DfE) has recently updated its statutory guidance on Special Educational Needs and Disability, code of practice: 0 to 25 years in 2015.  Year on year, an increasing number of children are being diagnosed as being in the SEND category, which in turn puts an increasing pressure on funding. The guidance requires that local authorities, early years providers, schools and colleges make families aware of individual support and local provision available and that they should ensure that young people and parents are actively supported in contributing to needs assessments, developing and reviewing Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.  However, it is local authorities via Children’s Services that must drive this process, through a mechanism known as the “Local offer”.

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

A report on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) came to committee, at the request of councillors wanting  a better understanding of a very complicated topic.  Click here to read the briefing notes…

Schools are becoming more aware of the needs of their pupils as mental health conditions are diagnosed at much earlier stages than previously.  If the child’s condition requires greater support than the school can provide, the child will be able to attend a Special Educational Needs school specifically equipped with knowledge and resource to ensure the proper learning environment.

Also on the agenda of this Children and Young People Select committee meeting was a report relating to child and adolescent mental health services.  To see the presentation given by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Click here…  Part of that presentation referred to the government publication detailing Government’s vision for children and young people with mental health issues, entitled “Future in Mind”.

Mental Health and Pre-Schools

Committee members were reminded that Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) is 100% funded by the NHS.  As with other areas, funding is a constant issue.  We learnt that to fund the CAMH service to the level recommended by the Royal College of Psychiatrists would cost an additional £3.5m.  Although the committee briefing answered many questions relating to Special Educational Needs and Disability, it also made me realise that there are many more questions for which I do not have answers.  Such as;-

  • The local authority fund the SEND initiative in two ways; through Children’s Services and through its Local Education Authority (LEA) responsibility, but what financial part does the LEA play in pre-schools?
  • What effect will academisation have on SEND provision and funding at schools?
  • What impact will the Government’s Child Care Bill have on provision?
  • If working families are to receive 30 hours per week childcare funding, will Pre-Schools be able to cope, since reports are indicating that an unintended consequence of the initiative, coupled with the new “Living wage” rate, that many Pre-Schools will find themselves at the wrong end of a funding gap?
  • Is the LEA responsible for ensuring local Pre-School provision (under the remit of the Child Care Bill), including SEND provision?
  • Do families of SEND pre-school aged children, whether working or not, receive funding and is this in addition to the standard 30 hour per week entitlement?
  • It is reported that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), NHS Trusts or NHS Foundation Trusts who are of the opinion that a child under compulsory school age has or probably has SEN or a disability must give the child’s parents the opportunity to discuss their opinion with them before informing the local authority.  What would be the possible outcomes of such discussions?
  • According to the Hampshire Local Offer website, there are four SEND Pre-School providers in West End and Hedge End.  How closely does the LEA work with these Pre-Schools and is the SEND part of their offer funded by the LEA?

Relevant links;