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Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND): Education Committee publishes Government response to report

23 July 2020

The Education Committee publishes the Government response to its report on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The report, published by the Committee of the last Parliament in October 2019, followed an 18-month inquiry into Government reforms aimed at placing children and young people at the heart of the SEND system.

It concluded that while the reforms to the support for children and young people contained in the Children and Families Act 2014 were the right ones, poor implementation has put local authorities under pressure, left schools struggling to cope and, ultimately, thrown families into crisis.

The Committee has agreed to undertake further work on SEND and follow-up the Government response with the Secretary of State when Parliament returns after the summer recess.

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"With more than 700 submissions from children, families and others, the Committee's examination of the SEND system in the last Parliament was one of the largest and widest-ranging inquiries ever undertaken by a select committee and highlighted how a generation of children and young people is being failed.

The response from Ministers is more than six months overdue so we are publishing it without further delay as hundreds of families, teachers, children and others who contributed to our work - and thousands more across the country - will have been waiting to hear how the Government intends to fix the flaws that lead to many young people missing out on the support they need.

I am pleased the Government recognises the system ‘must improve', as it is clear that many of the provisions for those with SEND are not working as they should be. The legislation had good intentions but has just not worked in practice. Families continue to face a treacle of bureaucracy, a postcode lottery of provision, buck-passing and confusion in a system that breeds conflict.

The Committee will consider the Government's response in detail over the coming weeks and will be following-up with the Secretary of State in the autumn. The coronavirus pandemic has brought new challenges for young people with SEND. Our committee will continue to be a voice for children and families to ensure they receive the support they both need and deserve."

Earlier this month, the Committee wrote to Children's Minister Vicky Ford, following an evidence session on the impact of COVID-19 on families and children with SEND.

Further information

Image: PA