Mencap welcomes SEN changes
Wednesday 05 August 2009
Government commits to new laws
Children's secretary Ed Balls (pictured) has promised to change the way schools support children with special educational needs (SEN).
The announcement comes after the Lamb Inquiry submitted reports on 'The quality and clarity of statements' and ‘Inspection, accountability and school improvement'.
The reports were published alongside a series of recommendations including two statutory changes – one allowing parents to appeal a local authority's decision on their child's statement, and another placing a duty on Ofsted to report on the quality of the education provided for disabled children and children with SEN.
Acting on the recommendations, Balls confirmed he will make Ofsted inspections of educational support for children with SEN a legal requirement. He also promised greater rights for parents unhappy with their child's SEN statement.
The Lamb Inquiry was established as part of the government's response to the House of Commons education and skills committee report ‘Special educational needs: assessment and funding'. The inquiry will look at ways to increase parental confidence in the SEN assessment process.
Commenting on the planned legislation, David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at Mencap, said: "All too often parents of children with a learning disability have to fight to get the educational support their child needs. The proposed ‘right to appeal' will take a parent's knowledge and understanding of their child into account, strengthening their rights as parents. It is a major step towards addressing the needs of children with a learning disability more accurately and effectively.
"Introducing Ofsted inspections to assess the quality of educational support for children with special educational needs as a legal requirement is a very positive step. We believe this will have a big impact on the lives of children with a learning disability."
A final report from the Lamb Inquiry is due in September.
Read more about the Lamb Inquiry