Welcome to this week’s edition of ‘The Week Ahead’ (29th May 2018)
Here you will find the latest updates on literacy and SEND policy from Parliament and beyond.
Things to know:
Councils will benefit from a £50 million funding boost for SEND
The Department for Education has announced funding of at least £115,000 for every council in England to help create around 740 more special school places and provide new specialist facilities to support children with complex needs. The government claims that overall investment in educational provision for children with SEND was £6billion this year, the highest on record.
What does this all mean?
Schools Week confirms that there is no new money from the Treasury in this announcement but that it does show the DfE’s willingness to ring-fence part of their capital budget for SEND pupils.
Special Needs Jungle asks what it means for inclusion and the ability of mainstream schools to provide SEND provision. The answer: it will depend on how Local Authorities use the money but given the rising number of EHCPs, it is likely that the majority of this will be spent on new special school places.
SEN reforms: Sharp increase in the number of children refused support
Children and Young People Now report that the number of children being refused formal SEN support following an assessment has more than tripled since ambitious government reforms came into effect in 2014
Ofsted missing inspection targets
The National Audit Office reports that Ofsted failed to meet its statutory duty to reinspect schools within five years on 43 occasions between 2012-13 and 2016-17. The lack of inspectors was given as the main reason for this shortcoming.
New Chair of Social Mobility Commission put forward
Dame Martina Milburn has been selected as the preferred candidate for the position of Chair of the Social Mobility Commission. Milburn spent 14 years as Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust. She will be questioned by the Education Committee before her appointment is confirmed by the government.
If you missed it:
The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds was on the Andrew Marr show to discuss school funding and T-Levels. Hinds also wrote for TES stating that “technical education will put UK on par with the best.”
Ian Noon, the head of policy and research at the National Deaf Children’s Society sets out his three top priorities for improving education for SEND learners. DYT echo his focus on specialist teachers, more funding and accountability.
Parliament is in recess until Monday 4th June.
The Education Committee’s deadline for evidence in their school funding inquiry closes on Wednesday.
DYT’s View: DYT welcomes the Education Committee’s inquiry into school and college funding. Schools are facing the worst financial crisis since the 1990s.
The impact the funding squeeze has had on specialist staff and resources has meant an increase in the number of SEND learners being turned away from mainstream schools. Despite the government’s efforts through the Fair Funding Formula, school standards and SEND support will be at real risk of slipping if schools are not sufficiently funded.
Key points DYT will make to the committee:
The ‘notional SEND budget’ is the primary pot from which schools meet the needs of pupils with low cost, high incidence SEND, such as dyslexia. Our Joining the Dots report warned that the lack of ‘ring-fencing’ around this means schools can, in fact, spend the money however they want. This means that this vulnerable group of disadvantaged pupils does not get the full support to which they are entitled to.
Scrutiny of SEND spending is therefore crucial. Currently, Ofsted can require schools to undergo a review of how Pupil Premium Funding is spent: where disadvantaged pupils are not making expected progress. We suggest that inspectors should be able to do the same for SEND pupils, where there is evidence that those pupils are not making expected progress.