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DR UK responds to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Review

27 July 2022

Last week DR UK submitted a response to the government consultation "SEND review: right support, right place, right time". Our full consultation response can be read on the DR UK website, including an accessible word document version.

The SEND green paper recognised that outcomes for Disabled children have not improved – with Disabled individuals being three times less likely to hold any qualifications than non-Disabled people and Disabled pupils facing disproportionate levels of bullying and exclusions in school. The government did not recognise how much of their "unprecedented investment" has been spent fighting parents at tribunal, and the number of unlawful decisions made by local authorities when denying children support.

The green paper misses the opportunity to make education inclusive to all pupils and instead tinkers with a system that is failing the majority of Disabled school students.

The government set out several proposals which will create additional barriers for parents and students when accessing support. For example, the introduction of compulsory mandatory mediation before a tribunal, national SEND standards that IPSEA warn will remove the current legal framework, and limiting parental choice regarding school settings.

DR UK's response includes concerns and recommendations regarding their policy proposals, as well as highlighting the silences in the green paper, and drawing attention to wider education concerns.

Bethany Bale - DR UK Education Policy Officer – said "SEND provision in this country is in crisis and this green paper failed to propose the transformational reforms needed to fix that. 95% of SEND tribunals are found in favour of the parents – meaning that in almost all cases, local authorities are found to have acted unlawfully. This green paper not only provides a dangerous lack of action on the issue, but it also introduces additional barriers to an already impossible system. It's essential that the government provide the resources needed for local authorities to effectively fulfil their legal obligations under the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Equality Act 2010."


For more information and statistis: 

The SEND Review:  right support, right place, right time

Education Inequality stats: Outcomes for disabled people in the UK: 2021

Bullying and exclusions stats: The Relationships Foundation: Flexi-Schooling

Special Needs Jungle: Councils wasted £253 million fighting parents at the SEND Tribunal since 2014 reforms

Special Needs Jungle: 95% of decisions in favour of parents, but nobody wins at the SEND Tribunal

IPSEA: SEND Review is 'a wolf in sheep's clothing' – Government proposals will mean complete overhaul of SEND law