Report Produced for the Secretary of State for Education 'SEND for Schools and College Experience' Lee Scott
This article outlines the main findings of the Report produced for the Secretary of State for Education, 'SEND for Schools and College Experience', by Lee Scott. Scott's report to the Secretary of State for Education is for the purpose of helping the recipient of the report understand the experience that parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and young people with SEND have at school and colleges. He concludes that his report presents a mixed picture and is grateful that people felt able to share positive and negative experiences.
Summary of main findings:
disability and special needs
• Communication: Scott heard from several examples of families who had good experiences of the system. However, he heard quite a few examples of families who received services from more than one local authority and where the authorities did not talk to each other.
• The right level of support: Scott heard from a number of families that they felt their local authority, school or college fully understood the needs of their child or young person, and that these families felt they were getting the right support and that children and young people were in the right school or college. However, he also heard from a number of parents and young people that they were not always aware of what is available to them and not always confident that they are getting the right kind of support.
• Funding: Scott heard from many parents and young people that, for example, speech and language therapy was difficult to get. Families are not always confident that resources are being spent properly or on the right things.
• Legislation: Scott rarely heard any criticism made of the way the system is designed or of the role that central government is playing - although some did say that it could do more to ensure the law was being applied consistently. Based on what Scott heard, in some areas the legislation in place gives agencies plenty of scope to take flexible and innovative approaches to deliver a more person-centred approach. But it is happening less well in other areas.
• The voluntary and community sector: Some organisations are funded by the government and the partnership between government and these organisations is clearly making a huge difference but there are never enough resources to meet the demands from all families. Many families told Scott how important these services are to them and how heavily they are relied upon.
• The link between education and health: Based on the special schools Scott visited and the parents whose children attended special schools that he spoke to, it is clear that many are well-placed to meet those health needs. In many mainstream schools, the situation is somewhat different. He heard that, where a child is on SEN support, medical needs are not being met (as it was not specifically noted in an Education Health Care (EHC) plan or statement) - and families are frustrated that this support is not offered.
• Age nineteen upwards: Scott heard often from parents and young people about the lack of opportunities for young people when they reach nineteen. It wasn't universally negative - for some it has been possible to find good quality further education and training, supported internships and employment, and that their preparation for adulthood has been well managed. But these examples are not widespread.