Education Committee critical of SEND reform implementation

The Education Committee has published its report on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. It doesn't pull any punches and makes a series of recommendations.

The Committee heard overwhelming evidence that the reforms were letting down young people who need additional support with their education. It heard from young people that poor support can result in them being isolated in school, unable to access the curriculum and find it hard to make friends. As adults, the training and employment opportunities were found to be poor, deriving from a fundamental lack of ambition for young people with SEND across the country.

The Committee makes the following key recommendations:

  • A more rigorous inspection framework for local authorities, with clear consequences for failure. There should be a greater focus on SEND in school inspections.
  • A direct line for parents and schools to appeal directly to the Department for Education where local authorities appear not to be complying with the law.
  • Powers for the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to investigate complaints about schools.
  • The development of more employment and training opportunities for post-16 young people

The committee makes a specific call on the Government to establish a ministerial-led, cross-departmental working group to develop more employment and training opportunities for post-16 young people.

"Unless there is a greater focus on supporting young people into meaningful and sustainable employment and independent living opportunities, we are letting down an entire generation of young people, putting greater pressure on the benefits and adult social care system, and creating long term costs that are unnecessary and unpalatable."

"The Department for Education, the Department for Health and Social Care, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry for Communities, Housing and Local Government should establish a ministerial-led cross-departmental working group, with representatives from the private sector, to develop and oversee a strategy to develop sustainable supported internship, apprenticeship and employment opportunities for young people with SEND. This taskforce should report regularly to the Education Committee on its work and strategy implementation."