In yesterday's Queen's speech the Government announced it will introduce new legislation to reform the Special Educational Needs (SEN) and disability system. This is a significant step forward from the proposals first announced in last summer's Green Paper, Support and Aspiration. It marks what will be the biggest legal changes to the SEN system in 30 years.
Our Great Expectations campaign, supported by thousands of campaigners has called on the Government to create a system which prepares children for life and works with, not against, their parents. We welcome the Government's aim to support families with children with disabilities such as autism. However, we will continue to ensure changes to the SEN and disability system benefit all children and young people who need specialist support, not just those with statements.
The main changes that will be put forward in the Bill are:
· From 2014 replace the system of statements of SEN and Learning Difficulty Assessments with a “single, simpler assessment process and Education, Health and Care Plan"
· Extend the statutory protections associated with a statement of SEN to young people up to the age of 25 in further education, instead of the statement ceasing when the young person leaves school
· Requiring local authorities to publish a local offer showing the support available to children and young people with SEN and disabilities and their families
· Give parents or young people who have an Education, Health and Care Plan the right to a personal budget for their support
· Introduce mediation for disputes and trial giving children the right to appeal if they are unhappy with their support
Thank you to all those campaigners who have got involved with our Great Expectations campaign. We will keep you updated as the plans progress and let you know about further things you can get involved in.
For more information on getting involved with our education campaign go to www.autism.org.uk/greatexpectations