SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper

Tagged in

What is NOT in the SEND and Alternative Provision Green Paper?

How is this 'Right support, Right place, Right time' with limited funding, lack of specialist support and an inflexible curriculum and assessment system?

After a three year wait the ‘SEND Review’ is a disappointment. The SEND sector had called for a person-centred inclusive system which allowed every child and young person’s achievement to count, but the Green Paper proposals aim to ‘creating a financially sustainable system’, not support schools or meet the needs of SEND young people. 

An inclusive education system means changing the framework that schools operate within, including the rigid and narrow mainstream curriculum and behaviour policies that take little account of diversity and difference.

School accountability measures, particularly Progress 8, do not recognise the progress of many children with SEN and disabilities, so penalise inclusive schools. Despite laying out the problems clearly, neither the SEND Green Paper nor Schools White Paper address these issues.

    How to have your say

    1. Talk about what these proposals mean for your school in a Union group meeting
    2. Raise this for discussion at your district/branch meetings - how will it affect members workload and professional practice?
    3. Join a regional SEND meeting organised by your regional SEND Organising reps.
    4. Respond to the consultation yourself or as a school group letting the DfE know what these proposals mean for you and colleagues.

    Key proposals

    National Standards

    worried about their use as they are linked to the new tariffs and banding funding of EHC provision

    New SENCO qualification (NPQ consultation

    A more managerial role – NEU has been calling for SENCO to be on the SLT for years.  This will not make a difference to the capacity and workload of the role if they are not able to call on specialist services.

    Increase teacher confidence in SEND provision

    Not enough in ITT or ECF on embedding inclusive practice - too much emphasis on quality first teaching without recognising that schools need input from specialist services and waiting times for assessment and diagnosis need to be reduced.  There is no consideration of the reduced numbers of support staff. 

    Standardised and digitalised EHC Plan

    Welcomed by the sector, useful for students moving between LAs and for transition – concern about a ‘list’ of schools being included for parents as this may not be the best provision for the child but instead the most ‘value for money’ option.

    Adjustment passports

    In the Levelling up White Paper – starting with a small pilot – NEU has called for this for our disabled members for years – we welcome this with caution.

    Develop funding bands and tariffs for SEND (to act as a ceiling)

    This is to ‘make the system sustainable’.  It is a one size fits all approach which should not be applied to SEND children. This will affect individualised support which will have the knock-on effect of leaving children in mainstream without adequate measures to support need and class teachers and support staff expected to pick up the pieces and provide specialist SEND support without the training or professional knowledge to do so.  The sector is extremely concerned about this proposal, and we are urgently seeking further details on this.

    The Code of Practice for SEND will be reviewed to reflect National Standards.

      Alternative Provision Proposals (chapter 4)

      Multi-year budget for AP

      Welcomed as current system was place based and very unpredictable and precarious for staff.  The new funding system proposed should provide more stability.

      All AP to be part of MATs

      There is no evidence that requiring special schools or AP to join MATs will improve pupil outcomes or resolve issues of staff retention and expertise. There is a risk that structural change at this time and forcing structure change is not value for money and will distract local authorities from SEND planning. It could also undermine LA statutory duties for students with SEND in the long term and for planning the range of appropriate provision; and we think the Government is wilfully ignoring this risk. See NEU evidence at: https://neu.org.uk/media/20731/view

      SEND partnerships to plan AP placements

      Based on 3-tiered system of early intervention – some concern about the attempted removal of long-term AP placements in the sector as this is the right provision for some pupils who need stable long term specialist intervention.

      Bespoke Performance framework

      Concern in the sector on this it says it will ‘set robust standards focussed on progress, re-integration into mainstream or sustainable post 16 education’ - we are not sure what this will mean?

      Oversight and transparency of pupil movements

      Welcomed as we have expressed concerns about illegal off-rolling as evidenced in our research with EPI

      Call for evidence on unregistered provision


        What is NOT in the Green paper?

        What has not been recognised at all in the Green Paper is the fact that when schools identify a child as potentially having special educational needs the wait times for assessment, diagnosis, getting an EHC plan in place and eventually releasing additional funds to support the child takes far too long. For children who might otherwise be in specialist settings one to one adult support is very often needed for lunch and break times as well as during lessons.  This costs money which schools currently do not have.

        There is no mention of additional funding or resource going into the specialist services for SEND, mental health and behaviour.

        There is only one paragraph in the 100-page document that mentions support staff.   This is poor, considering the vital role that they play in working alongside teachers in mainstream and special school classes.  Three fifths of NEU support staff say workload is either unmanageable or only just manageable. There is no focus on celebrating all types of success and supporting young people to be their best selves.  The system described in the Green Paper is a one size fits all model which discriminates against many SEND students.

          Related content

          Abstract polygons

          Building inclusion in schools and colleges

          Covid-19 banner for general use
          Coronavirus and SEND

          The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to specific issues in special schools and for SEND in mainstream schools. Updated September 2021.