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Department for Education reports on progress of education reforms

Thursday 26th May 2016

Today the Department for Education (DfE) has published an analysis of data about special educational needs [PDF] and the progress of reforms to the special educational needs (SEN) education system that began in September 2014.

The DfE's data shows that in 2015 only 59% of the new Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans were issued within the 20 week time limit.

Minister of State for Children and Families Edward Timpson and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health Jane Ellison talk about this and the progress of the SEN reforms in a joint blog on the Special Needs Jungle website.

Jill Davies, Contact a Family's education adviser, says:

"The findings published by the Department for Education today reflect the experience of many parents who call our helpline and who are still wrestling with the practicalities of transferring statements to EHC plans.

"Some local authorities report that they are overwhelmed with the volume of children they are having to transfer from statements to EHC plans, and this has resulted in errors, delays and inevitably parents' frustration.

"The SEN reforms aim to put children and their families at the heart of any discussion about the support they are offered and to help children with SEN achieve the best possible outcomes. We welcome the ongoing commitment shown by the Department for Education to ensure the reforms are implemented at the level of quality we and families expect from the new system.

"However, there is still some way to go. Currently, families we speak to feel that they are not getting enough support to navigate the new system, that their concerns are not being listened to or that their time is being wasted chasing up paperwork.

"The data released today also shows that while the proportion of children and young people with statements and EHC plans remains constant, there is a decrease in the number of children with SEN. We receive many calls to our helpline from parents whose children struggle to learn and who feel that their concerns are not being addressed. Therefore we are concerned that this decrease in the number of children with SEN may reflect that many children are not being identified as having SEN, or placed on SEN support.  

"We would urge any parent worried or confused about changes to the SEN system and the impact on their child to call our free helpline for advice."

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