Together for Short Lives has today called on the Government to accept the recommendations from a cross-party group of MPs to strengthen proposed legislation on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). The Education Select Committee’s report follows its scrutiny of the draft Children and Families Bill, which includes clauses to reform SEND in England.
The Committee concludes that the aspirations of the reforms are sound, but that the Bill lacks detail. Its recommendations include the need for a clear duty on the NHS to ensure health services play their part in integrated Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans. It also recommends ensuring that disabled children who do not have SEND have access to an EHC plan and establishing a national framework for defining what local services should provide for children and their families.
The SEND reforms, currently being piloted by 20 ‘pathfinder’ sites, will come into force in 2014 as a result of the Children and Families Bill – due to be introduced to Parliament in the New Year.
We welcome the Education Committee’s recommendations and call on Ministers to reflect them in the revised Bill. The committee has highlighted many of the issues raised by the children’s palliative care sector - including concerns about a lack of involvement from health services in the single assessment process for disabled children. It is really important that all children and young people with complex health and social care needs have access to a more joined up assessment and planAndrew Fletcher, Director of External Affairs at Together for Short Lives