SEND Spring Update

Dear Colleagues

I hope that you have all had a restful and relaxing holiday and are ready to face the opportunities and challenges that the summer term will bring.

In this update I have included all the educational news from the last half term.

Transformational reform begins for children and young people with SEND – 2nd March – Press Release

The government have finally published their SENDAP Improvement Plan following their Green Paper published in March 2022. This press release sets out the key messages within the Improvement Plan.

You can find the full Improvement Plan here.

Feedback from the consultation can be found here.

I have produced a summary of the SENDAP Improvement Plan which can be found here.

Nasen has produced some excellent summaries for different groups – the one for SENCOs can be found here.

School sports given huge boost to level the playing field for next generation of Lionesses – Blog Post – 8th March

On International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8 March) the Government set out new standards for equal access to sports, making it clear that girls and boys should be offered the same sports during PE and extracurricular time in schools.

Early years education recovery programme – Updated 15th March

This guidance contains information on new continuing professional development, qualifications, and support and guidance for the early years sector, funded by the Department for Education. This has been updated with information about the professional development programme phase 3 (PDP3) which is now available.

The professional development programme (PDP) provides early years practitioners with training on communication and language, early mathematics, and personal, social and emotional development.

PDP has been designed to ensure early years practitioners have the skills they need to support young children’s development in the areas that make the most difference to long-term development and attainment.

PDP 3 is available to practitioners nationally, targeted at reaching disadvantaged children

What are ‘ghost children’ and why is school attendance important? Blog Post – 27th March

In this blog the DfE explain their commitment to tackling the factors causing children to miss school and the importance of school attendance. 

 Package to level up opportunities for the most disadvantaged pupils – Press release – 28th March

The DfE recently announced Local Needs Funding to be allocated to 24 education cold spots around the country to help disadvantaged pupils.

You can find out which are the 24 investment areas here.

Schools and colleges to receive £2.5 billion to upgrade buildings and boost school places – Press Release – 28th March

Millions of young people across the country are set to benefit from a significant £2.5 billion boost so they can learn in high quality buildings and facilities that are fit for the future.

Schools and colleges will receive investment to upgrade classrooms and refurbish buildings that will provide high quality learning environments – benefiting communities for years to come.

Recovery premium funding – Updated 30th March

This guidance on the additional funding to support schools with education recovery following COVID-19 has been updated with information for funding in 2023-2024.

Recovery premium allocations for academic year 2023/24 will be calculated on a per pupil basis, based on the following rates.

In mainstream education, the rates are:

£145 per eligible pupil in primary schools

£276 per eligible pupil in secondary schools

For other eligible schools, including special education units in mainstream schools, the rates are double the mainstream rates:

£290 per pupil in primary education

£552 per pupil in secondary education

Pupil Premium – Updated – 30th March

This guidance containing information on pupil premium funding, how school leaders can use it effectively and pupil premium strategy statements has been updated with information for the financial year 2023-2024.

Pupils who are eligible for free school meals, or have been eligible in the past 6 years       

Primary School £1,455 and Secondary School £1,035      

Pupils previously looked after by a local authority or other state care and those currently looked after by the local authority

Primary and Secondary School £2,530   

Using pupil premium: guidance for school leaders – Updated 30th March

 Review of relationships, sex and health education to protect children to conclude by end of year – Press Release – 31st March

New Relationships, Sex, Health and Education (RSHE) statutory guidance will be completed by the end of the year, in response to disturbing reports that inappropriate material is being taught in some schools.

The review is needed to make sure all children are protected from inappropriate content in all cases, even if many schools already teach RSHE and engage parents in a positive way.

There is also a Blog post addressing this issue.

Senior mental health lead training – Updated 3rd April

The DfE have extended their offer to eligible schools and colleges to apply for a senior mental health lead training grant to commence training by 31 March 2024. Grants will be provided to cover (or contribute to) the cost of attending a quality assured course, and may also be used to hire supply staff while leads are engaged in learning.

Disabled children to benefit from funding for short breaks – Press Release – 11th April

Thousands of families with children with special educational needs supported with short breaks from theatre trips to outdoor activities helping to build vital skills.

The local authorities who will receive new funding this year as part of the second year of the programme are: Bristol City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Camden Council, Derby City Council, Norfolk County Council, Nottingham City, Plymouth City Council, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Southwark Council, Suffolk County Council, Sunderland City Council, Surrey County Council and Wakefield Council.

Key stage 2 tests: special consideration guidance – Updated 20th March

This guidance sets out how schools apply for special consideration for pupils whose performance is affected by extremely distressing circumstances or incidents before the tests.


Area SEND inspections: information about ongoing inspections – Ofsted – Updated 21st February

Ofsted have produced a series of guides for parents, carers, children and young people about inspections of local services for children and young people with SEND.

Although Ofsted and CQC began a new cycle of Local Area SEND Inspections under the new framework in January they have not published any reports to date.

Art should command an important place in every school – Research Review – 22nd February

Ofsted has published its latest curriculum research review, this time looking at art education in schools.


Supporting children with genetic syndromes in education – Free Resources

This resource has been developed to raise awareness and understanding of the complex needs of children with genetic syndromes, and to support educational practitioners and teachers who are working with these children.

What’s in the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan?

I recently took part in a recording for Training for Education where I went through the SENDAP Improvement Plan. If you are interested in watching this free recording visit the Training for Education website.

Sensible SENCO – Summer Term SENCO. During this session I outlined the key jobs that a SENCO may need to do during the upcoming summer term with reference to a number of tasks including transition. (You will have to sign up to Sensible SENCO – It is free).

The Effective Teaching Assistant – Online Course

Abigail Grey, author of The Effective Teaching Assistant has put together an online training package of professional, skills-based training for TAs working to support students with SEND in the classroom.

The summer term SENDCO – Gary Aubin

Gary, author of the excellent publication The Lone SENCO has written a blog where he outlines 8 areas as potential priorities for the summer term, which broadly fit into 2 categories: doing the summer term well and preparing to do next year well.

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