Friday, August 26, 2011

Ofsted: disabled young people need more help after school

Ofsted have todaybrought out a new report, Progression post-16 for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. It finds that some young disabled people struggle to get effective support after school to help them into employment, further study, and living independently.

Ofsted carried out case studies in 32 colleges, independent learning providers and local authority providers of adult and community learning. It found that while the transition arrangements in most colleges and work-based learning providers work well, local authorities (LAs) perform much more poorly. Providers had received a learning difficulties assessment from the LA in only a third of the case studies, and these were not always timely or based on an objective assessment of need.

In the report Ofsted makes a number of recommendations to improve support in the future.

The full report can be found along with a summary at

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Department for Education releases school exclusion figures

 The Department for Education have just published their school exclusion statistics for 2009-10. These figures measure the numbers of permanent and fixed-term exclusions in primary and secondary schools in the last academic year.

 Compared to pupils with no SEN, those with a statement of SEN are around eight times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion and six times more likely to receive a fixed-term exclusion. Although rates remain high, the percentage of pupils with SEN who have been permanently excluded has decreased by 0.04% since 2008-09.

The NAS is concerned about high levels of exclusion amongst children with SEN – 17% of children in our Great Expectations survey had been suspended from school. It’s also important to note that the Department for Education’s figures do not include informal exclusions, where a child is sent home without being ill or officially excluded. One in three parents in our survey had experienced this at some point.

 Through our campaign, the NAS wants to ensure that parents have support when challenging the system on behalf of their children, and for local authorities to have enough information about the needs of children with autism in their area to plan effective support.  We welcome the fact that the Government’s SEN Green Paper says that where a pupil faces exclusion, multi-agency assessments will be piloted to see whether they help identify any factors behind this, such as unidentified SEN, as this is something that the NAS has called for over many years.

 A summary of the Department for Education’s figures and a full PDF download are available at

Friday, August 12, 2011

Share your experiences of SEN provision at academies

The Academies Act 2010 specifies that the existing SEN framework does apply to academies, as the agreement that the school signs with the Secretary of State for Education in order to become an academy (called a “funding agreement”) will say that the academy has to adhere to Part 4 of the Education Act 1996. 

However, with the Government’s drive to increase the number of schools which have academy status, more and more parents are asking about academies and their duty to make provision for children with SEN, and a number of common issues are emerging.

IPSEA, a charity which provides advice to families of children with special educational needs, has launched a survey to find out more about what is happening as schools become academies. The survey has just 8 questions and should only take a few minutes to complete.  IPSEA will use your feedback to produce resources that will help with common issues.

Friday, August 5, 2011

“Don't let disabled children pay the price for welfare reform”: sign our petition

The Government have announced plans for a substantial cut to welfare support for disabled children under the Universal Credit.  The new system will result in many of these children losing up to £1400 per year (£27 per week) compared to the current system - by the time a disabled child reaches 16, this could cost the family £22,000.

In total the Government estimates that 100,000 disabled children would lose out under this change - other estimates suggest the number could be considerably higher. 

Financial support is crucial to help these families with the costs of raising a disabled child and manage their extra caring responsibilities.  £27 is more than half the average family’s food budget - enough to mean the difference between a family meeting their child’s basic needs, and being left simply unable to cope.

We have joined forces with 24 other major charities and other organisations to call on the Government to change these damaging plans.    

Please take action with us by:
> Promoting our campaign on your facebook, linked in and twitter accounts