What an inspiring recent visit to St Nicholas school in Chippenham for children with special needs. My sister works in this sector and I am grateful to all those who dedicate their lives to helping those in need to get a start in life.
The old system of Special Educational Needs provision was outdated and not fit for purpose. Thousands of families had to battle for months, even years, with different agencies to get the specialist care their children need. It is unacceptable that they are forced to go from pillar to post – facing agonising delays and bureaucracy to get support, therapy and equipment.
The Conservatives’ SEND reforms have extended rights and protection to young people and introduced a new education, health and care plan that reflects the aspirations of young people and the outcomes they want to achieve. That means a big improvement for families, bringing services together with users to provide a package of support that meets their needs, removing the cliff-edge at 16 and helping young people into work and living as independently as they can.
I believe that it is crucial that we prepare all our young people for adult life, including employment and independent living. It’s absolutely vital young people with SEND are supported in the transition to the workplace when they finish education. We want to help these young people develop the best skills to contribute to and succeed in modern Britain.
In England, 1 in 5 children has special educational needs (SEN) or disability, ranging from dyslexia to a physical impairment. SEN can affect a child’s ability to learn, their behaviour or ability to socialise, their ability to make friends, read and write; their ability to understand concepts and concentration levels.