Thursday, October 21, 2010

SEN minister addresses APPGA

On Monday, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism (APPGA) met at Parliament to discuss the Government's Review of special educational needs (SEN) and how the system can be improved.

The meeting was really well attended by professionals from the sector and MPs, including Graham Stuart MP, chair of the education select committee, Russell Brown MP, Robert Buckland MP and Lord Clement-Jones.

In a speech to the group, Minister for Children and Families, Sarah Teather made assurances that although cuts to government spending will make it more difficult to improve the system, they will not stop reform from happening. She said that it’s “not right” that parents have to battle system to get the right support for their child and that she intends the new system to be much more ‘family friendly’. She also wants there to be a focus on diagnosis and early intervention, giving families more choice in their child's education, and transition to adulthood.

She also thanked Ralph Hemus, one of young campaigners for his excellent speech about his and his family’s experience of the system. Ralph spoke to attendees about how difficult it can be to be a child with autism at a school where there is not enough understanding and how he thinks that teachers and pupils should be educated about autism.  

Minister Sarah Teather (right) and Charlotte Leslie MP (left)
listen to Ralph talk about his experiences of the SEN system

After the speeches, members of Parliament and members of the public had the opportunity to put their questions to the minister, allowing her to explain some more about her ideas for improving the system.

Although the Call for Views is now closed, there will be further opportunities to give your views on the system when the Green Paper is published later this year. We will keep you updated.

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