Contact joins calls for specialist workforce plan

2 mins read

Thursday 3 November 2022

A coalition of over 110 charities, professional bodies and parent carers is calling on the government to address gaps in the workforce providing direct support to disabled children and their families.

We’ve written to Gillian Keegan MP and Steve Barclay MP, Secretaries of State for Education and Health and Social Care, calling for urgent action on workforce planning.

The specialist workforce comprises specialists such as speech and language therapists, education psychologists and social workers. Alongside supporting families, the specialist workforce helps teachers and other professionals develop their skills and knowledge. Specialists are often the first to identify needs and play a vital role in keeping children in school.

But across our sectors, we are seeing:

  • An insufficient number of specialists being trained to meet demand.
  • A falling number of specialists.
  • An increased demand for support in general and in more complex cases in particular.
  • Responding to the pressures of COVID-19 exacerbating pre-existing demands on the specialist workforce and increased waiting times to access them.

Without access now to the specialist support they need, children and young people will be at increased risk of poorer educational outcomes.

In addition, this has important implications for the SEND Review. The government aims to ensure young people with SEND have the right support, in the right place, at the right time. This requires a clear workforce plan to ensure there are sufficient specialist professionals to help those working with children to identify needs and secure support both now and in the future.