The publication of the Government’s SEND Review report: Right Support, Right Place, Right Time was long overdue. Chronic underfunding, lack of inclusion in mainstream schooling and increasing absence rates are just several of the ways children and young people with SEND have faced sustained deterioration of their human right to inclusive education.

As we have been waiting for the Green Paper’s release, the pandemic has affected all our lives, yet young people with SEND and their families continue to be disproportionately impacted. Lack of respite, limited access to therapy and increased anxieties have presented overwhelming challenges for families over two years of lockdowns. However, many of those issues were here long before the pandemic and as highlighted in the Green Paper, children and young people with SEND and their families are let down by a number of failings.

What was sadly missing from the SEND Review Green Paper was the recognition of how a rights-based approach could address such failings and act as a mechanism to monitor the impact of the new reforms’ implementation.

The Green Paper promises to deliver excellent provision from early years to adulthood but it has also failed to give weight to or recognise the challenges facing the further education sector. Instead, giving just five pages out of a 100-page document to the transition to further education and into independence.

United Response nevertheless recognises the positives in the paper, such as a clearer definition of how social care will be required to feed into EHC assessments and the standardisation and digitisation of templates

Key recommendations

  • As a matter of urgency, fully incorporate the UNCRC and the UNCRPD into domestic law to ensure that children and young people’s rights and those with a disability are central to SEND reforms and considered of paramount importance to the Government.
  • That the National SEND Delivery Board develop a co-production strategy with children and young people with SEND and their families to ensure that participation and co-production guide the development, implementation, delivery, and monitoring of the reforms.
  • Introduce clear standards and monitoring to evidence how young people with SEND are being prepared for adulthood across the four Preparing for Adulthood (PFA) outcomes, ensuring that the standards link up with initiatives across government to reduce the SEND employment gap.
  • Enhance and protect strategic joint commissioning so providers can develop responsive and holistic provisions to meet the needs of children with profound and multiple learning disabilities and those with complex needs.