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Government must strengthen Bill to avoid breaking promises on SEND

News and comment

In signing an open letter to David Cameron and Nick Clegg, Together for Short Lives has joined over 100 other charities and local parent groups to urge the Government to strengthen the Children and Families Bill to make life better for families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

We believe that, at present, the Government is not delivering on their promise to make the process of navigating the education, health and care systems in England less stressful for all children with SEND and their families. Children with life-limiting conditions who do not have special educational needs or who are not in full time education or training will now not benefit from the single assessments and integrated planning originally proposed in 2011.

From today (16 October), the House of Lords will debate in detail the reforms which will have a wide-reaching impact on the way children and young people with SEND are supported in the future. The debate takes place in light of the recent report by the Children’s Commissioner for England, which found that some disabled children were living lives that didn’t meet international human rights standards.



We urge the Government to listen to the many charities and parent groups signed up to this open letter to achieve the vision families desperately want to become a reality. Joined-up assessments and services are particularly crucial for families of children who need palliative care, for whom time is often short and cannot be wasted chasing different parts of the system to secure the services they need.

Andrew Fletcher, Director of External Affairs at Together for Short Lives

The letter urges the Government to listen to disabled children, young people and their families – and those who support and work with them – to address these issues within the Children and Families Bill. The Government must strengthen the Bill to:

  • Protect the existing rights of disabled children and young people
  • Create a truly joined-up system for disabled children and young people with health and social care services fully integrated
  • Make local authorities accountable for the services they offer to disabled children and young people and ensure all disabled children and young people benefit from these improvements

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  1. It is time to make public consultation a reality and talk with children and families directly affected by these changes, alongside professionals to get it right. We know budgets are tight we know decisions need to be made but let's truly work together to get it right for societies most precious individuals and those around them, make things easier not harder, get things right, make a difference.

    6 March, 2018
    Jen Pollock