ASCL comment ahead of publication of SEND and AP Improvement Plan

Margaret Mulholland, SEND and Inclusion Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the government’s press release ahead of the publication of their SEND and AP Improvement Plan
“The current system for supporting children with special educational needs is badly broken and critically underfunded. Children and young people are not receiving the help they need, and schools are left without the resources needed to best support them.
“Efforts to fix this crisis are very welcome. Expanded training for staff and the standardisation of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) are important steps but we are concerned about the length of time it is going to take to implement some of these policies. More special schools are desperately needed, but will take years to build. The promise of additional places in the future will be of no comfort to those missing out right now who have a special school named on their EHCP but who can’t get a place as the relevant school is oversubscribed. Nor will it help the mainstream schools currently struggling to meet the needs of these pupils. Funding must also be made available to convert existing buildings and ensure they offer the bespoke provision young people deserve. 
“It has taken an awfully long time to get to this point. We look forward to reading the plan in detail, and to an explanation of the level of funding available and the timeframe for when these policies will be implemented. We are yet to see anything to suggest the government understands the gravity of the situation and the urgency with which they need to act.”