9th December – Implementing the 0-25 special needs system
All local authority and health leaders have been sent an implementation pack to support them in their joint working to implement the SEN reforms to ensure that they are delivered in a strategic way to support children, young people and their families in their local area. This is non-statutory guidance produced by the Department for Education and the Department for Health to help all parties understand their role in implementing the reforms.
The guidance contains information on the following:
- Key questions local strategic leaders have found useful in thinking about implementing the SEN reforms;
- An outline timeline for implementation;
- System changes to deliver the new approach;
- Resources and support that can be accessed from a variety of organisations to support the cultural and system change these reforms require.
There are also two examples of Education, Health and Care plans: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/implementing-the-0-to-25-special-needs-system
Extension of Pathfinder Champions
A letter to all Pathfinders from officials at the Department of Education and Department of Health announced that the pathfinder champion programme would be extended until March 2015. This extension would ensure that support was available to all local areas in the period to September 2014 and beyond.
From April 2014 – March 2015 the pool of pathfinder champions is to be increased in order for more support to be available for all those local authorities who need it.
The letter can be viewed here: http://www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/media/525617/dfedh_pathfinder-2014-2015-letter_issued-11-12-13.pdf
10th December – SEN Reform Grant
Edward Timpson announced the injection of £70 million to create a new SEN reform grant. This money will be provided to local authorities on a formula basis, with no ring-fencing, so that authorities have maximum flexibility over how they use this money. It is hoped that this funding will help local authorities to implement the ambitious reforms, which range from introducing personal budgets and developing joint commissioning with health to engaging with families and others over the local offer.
12th December – Amendment to the Children and Families Bill
The Government amended the Children and Families Bill to include disabled children and young people within the scope of the Bill. Up until this point the Bill only covered those children and young people identified with a special educational need, this amendment will ensure that disabled children and young people are now included in a number of clauses of the Bill.
Pupil Premium Funding
David Laws, Minister of State for Schools, announced that the government would be providing primary schools with an extra £53 to the end of the 2013-14 financial year for every primary pupil who is currently eligible for free school meals (FSM) or has been eligible for FSM in the past 6 years. This is on top of the £900 primary schools currently receive for each of their FSM. Primary schools will be able to use this additional funding to further raise pupil attainment. Secondary FSM and looked after children will continue to attract a premium of £900 and service children attract a premium of £300.
The Minister then confirmed the final pupil premium allocations for 2014 – 15. Overall the fund was rising from £1.875 billion to £2.5 billion and this rise will be used to increase substantially the funding per pupil for primary school pupils, allowing schools to intervene early, where the impact is greatest. From April 2014, primary FSM pupils will attract £1300 which will help primary schools raise attainment and ensure that every child is ready for the move to secondary school. Meanwhile, £935 will be allocated for secondary FSM pupils and the service child premium will be set at £300 per pupil.
In the 2014 to 2015 financial year, the pupil premium plus for looked after children will have more than doubled, from £900 in 2013-14 to £1900 per pupil. The eligibility for this funding will be extended to include those who have been looked after for one day or more, as compared with the 6 months in care currently required. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pupil-premium-funding
18th December – Special Educational Needs POSTNOTE
In 2013, one in five pupils in England were identified as having special educational needs (SEN). The Children and Families Bill will reform the provision available for these children and young people. This POSTnote published by the Houses of Parliament summarises the nature and diversity of SEN and discusses the support and outcomes for affected children and their families.