Yesterday, Thursday 29 March, we published new figures showing that almost 222,000 children and young people have had their care reviewed as part of our introduction of new Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.
The Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi has appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning to talk about the progress that has been made implementing these plans, and to set out the next steps in the government’s reforms to services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The new EHC plans provide tailored support for children and young people with SEND, bringing together their education, health and social care needs for the first time and replacing the old Statements of SEN. They also aim to prepare young adults for the world of work and to live independently.
The new data is from 1 March, one month before the deadline by which councils should have transferred statements of SEN to EHC plans, showing that councils were on track to complete the vast majority of reviews on time with 94% having been completed. More reviews will have been completed in the intervening weeks.
The Minister also launched the next stage in the government’s reforms, with the start of a two-year national trial for the new SEND Tribunal and announced the sponsors of the 14 new special free schools which, once opened, will provide over 1100 new school places for children with SEN.
The new SEND Tribunal will give parents and young people the right to appeal all aspects of their EHC plan, giving them more rights as part of government reforms, which put them at the centre of these decisions.
The new special free schools will provide places for multiple learning needs, including children with autism and mental health issues.
Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:
We want every child to have the support they need to unlock their potential, whatever their background and no matter what challenges they face. Our new Education, Health and Care Plans are putting the views of young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families at the heart of the process so they can help shape the support they receive.
It’s been a huge task to transfer every young person to one of these plans but local authorities have risen to the challenge with almost 222,000 cases reviewed and I congratulate them for it. We are now working with councils to make sure they carry out the remaining reviews and the new EHC plans are of the highest quality.
To complement this work we are also opening new special free schools across the country that will provide tailored support for over a thousand children to ensure they have access to the excellent education that every child deserves.