The Driver Youth Trust (DYT) commissioned LKMco to undertake research into the impact the Children and Families Act (2014) has had on those with SEND in the education system, one year on.
Our aim is to improve young people’s opportunities for success in life, recognising that literacy is a key element to this. Having the ability to read and write fluently is not only essential from a personal point of view, but has wide-reaching social and economic effects. The new act, therefore, presented both an opportunity for us to reflect on the educational and SEND landscape and current practice, and a challenge as to how best to respond to developments that have taken place under this new regime.
Intense reform has taken place in the education system over the last five years. Some of these reforms have explicitly focused on special educational needs and disability (SEND) while others have been broader but have nonetheless had a profound effect on these children and young people.
Many examples of high-quality provision have emerged in response. These are often driven by strong partnerships, well-managed change and skilled, impassioned leadership. However, at present provision is fragmented, leading to difficulties in sharing information and knowledge.
As a result, many children and young people do not receive the support they deserve and gaps in the system lead to wasted resources as well as disconnected or duplicated services. Ultimately students, parents, schools and sector organisations are finding it difficult to navigate the new system and this is standing in the way of the reforms’ success.
We find that key causes of fragmentation are:
To policy-makers and regulators
To Local Authorities
The Joining the Dots report is so important in establishing whether or not the reforms that were made are having the desired impact on the ground.
All policy is made with the best of intentions, but it is vital that the people who are affected most by any changes have a chance to make their voices heard about the successes and failures that they have experienced.
I really hope the Government look at the recommendations made very closely, as it is only through working with the sector that we can make the progress that we all want to see.Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Children’s Minister