News Update – November 2019

I hope you all had a good half term. Halloween, Bonfire Night and Diwali are behind us and we are on the countdown to a General Election and Christmas.  Although it is easy to reflect on what has happened in the world of SEND over the last half term it is far more difficult to predict what will be happening after December 12th. Watch this space!

House of Commons Education Committee – Special Educational Needs Report – 23rd October 2019

Eighteen months after the HoC Education Committee began their Inquiry into SEND they have finally published their report. The 127 page report states that a generation of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are failing to receive the support they deserve, with poorly implemented legislation leaving families facing a nightmare of bureaucracy, buck-passing and confusion.

The Committee heard from more than 70 witnesses and received more than 700 submissions of written evidence.

The Committee concludes that while the reforms to support children and young people contained in the Children and Families Act 2014 were the right ones, poor implementation has put local authorities under pressure, left schools struggling to cope and, ultimately, thrown families into crisis.

You can read the full report here:

Not going to plan? – Education Health and Care Plans two years on – Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman – October 2019

This report gives a fresh picture of the Local Government Ombudsman’s caseload since their report about EHCPs published two years ago in October 2017.

In 2018-19 the Local Government Ombudsman received 45% more complaints that in 2016-17 and they carried out 80% more detailed investigations. Most concerning of all was that nearly 9 out of 10 investigations (87%) were upheld.

The most serious issues that were investigated were:

  • Severe delays – of up to 80 weeks delays
  • Poor planning and anticipation of needs
  • Poor communication and preparation for meetings
  • Inadequate partnership working
  • Lack of oversight from senior managers.

Case studies from some of their investigations can be found here:


Early Years Foundation Stage Reforms

The DfE have launched a consultation on proposed changes to the EYFS framework. This consultation seeks views on changes to the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS). This includes proposed reforms to the learning and development and early years foundation stage profile (EYFSP) assessment requirements, as set out in the EYFS framework. In addition, it seeks views on an amendment to the safeguarding and welfare section of the framework.

The consultation is open until 31st January 2020.

You can find further information and how to contribute to the consultation on the DfE website:

Relationships, sex and health education: guides for parents

The DfE have published guides for parents of primary and secondary age pupils that schools can use to communicate with them about teaching relationships and health education. The guides are published in a number of languages.

Character education framework

The DfE have recently published non-statutory guidance to schools on character education and development for pupils. This guidance is for school leaders and teachers considering the rationale for character education and personal development, and the practicalities of provision and delivery.

The guidance will support schools as they consider

  • the 2019 Ofsted inspection framework
  • the social, moral, cultural and spiritual development of pupils
  • preparations for the introduction of ‘Relationships education’ and ‘Health education’ in primary schools, and ‘Relationships, sex and health education’ in secondary school

The guidance provides schools with 6 benchmarking questions to support reflection and the self-evaluation of current provision.

SEND tribunal trial – plans to extend the current special educational needs and disability tribunal trial to 31 August 2020

Michelle Donelan, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families recently wrote to all Directors of Children’s Services to set out her plans to extend the current Trial of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal. The Trial, which was due to run until 31 March 2020, will be extended until 31 August 2020.

The Trial provides extended powers for the SEND Tribunal to hear, and make non-binding decisions about, appeals relating to health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

APPG report on Dyslexia is published

The British Dyslexia Association has published the report of the All Party Parliamentary Group into dyslexia, the ‘Educational Cost of Dyslexia’.

The Educational Cost of Dyslexia states that ‘our education system is often hindering rather than helping’ children and young people with dyslexia, and outlines why we need to change our current approach. It also offers some suggestions as to how this could be done, in order to identify dyslexia early, support it well, and save money both directly and through wider benefits to the economy.

Suggestions for improvement include:

  • removal of the spelling, punctuation and grammar marks from tests other than English Language GCSE
  • allow young people with dyslexia to use laptops/tablets in all classes and all exams, including English Language GCSE
  • have a specialist dyslexia teacher assessor in every school
  • training on dyslexia during ITT and as part of CPD, particularly for NQTs

You can read the full report on the BDA website:

School inspection update: academic year 2019 to 2020

The latest update for inspectors and stakeholders was published on 1st November. This update contains the latest information and guidance about Ofsted’s inspection work in schools.

This issue focuses on the minor changes to the section 5 and section 8 handbooks following the first two months under EIF.

Improving Social and Emotional Learning in Primary Schools

This guidance report aims to help primary schools support children’s social and emotional development. It draws on a recent review of the evidence about social and emotional learning conducted by the University of Manchester, which was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF). It also draws on a wider body of evidence and expert input.

Wellbeing, reading and writing resources from National Literacy Trust

National Literacy Trust research shows that children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have good mental wellbeing than children who don’t enjoy reading

The report, based on a survey of almost 50,000 UK school children aged 8 to 18, found that:

  • Children who are the most engaged with reading and writing are much happier with their lives than children who are the least engaged
  • As children transition from primary to secondary school, their levels of literacy engagement and mental wellbeing both decline and continue on this downward path
  • Boys who are the most engaged with reading and writing have higher levels of mental wellbeing than girls who are engaged

NLT have worked with children’s mental health charity, Place2Be, to develop a series of free wellbeing-themed teaching resources for primary schools, secondary schools and parents.

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