Funding for Special Educational Needs support

 support SEND provision. Images shows children in a classroom

Edward Timpson MP has recently released some good news for groups who support SEND provision. A package, says the government, of a little under sixty million pounds. This is not only good news for councils who, the reports say, would receive a share of 40 million pounds, it is also good news for other support groups too. Quoting from the announcement page on the government’s website the following groups can be expected to receive funding to the amounts of:

  • £15 million for the Independent Supporters programme in 2017 to 2018, run by the Council for Disabled Children, this has been a real driver of change for families navigating the SEND system and improving the experience for them
  • £2.3 million for Parent Carer Forums in 2017 to 2018, who bring parents together and provide a voice to influence local decision-making
  • £1.8 million to Contact a Family, to support individual Parent Carer Forums and their National Network, and to run a national helpline for families.

Contact a Family and Parent Carer forums will welcome this funding to help with building on the good work that they do in supporting families and young people with SEN and disabilities.

The remainder of the money will be allocated to the Independent Supporters programme. The Independent Support’s final report highlights the key aim of Independent Support (IS);

“One of the key aims of the SEND reforms is to improve coordination between agencies, sectors, professionals and systems so that young people and their families find their way easily and don’t get stuck, missed or lost among different services and elements of assessment and support planning. IS was originally conceived of as a time limited guide through this plethora of services, to enable families to find their way into and through a more streamlined process of assessment and access to personalised support.”

IS was set up in the context of the transition to Education Health Care Planning in the new SEND reforms, which for many of those going through the system has not been easy to navigate. The report highlights the positive experiences of those young people and their carers who have received good IS within the changes going in through the SEND reform. Where it works effectively the Independent Support appears to be bridging the gap between the young people, the services involved and the processes of the EHC planning. It has helped provide young people with SEND a ‘voice’. An increase in funding to support those providing IS services will hopefully improve the voice of those with SEND, enabling them to make their needs known. After all, the EHC planning is supposed to put the young person with SEND at the heart of the process.

Let us hope that the funding is used effectively in the coming year to improve the engagement of all stakeholders in the process as well as empowering the young people and their families in their EHC processes.

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