Derbyshire Parent Carer Voice is very keen to respond to the Government consultation on SEND reforms and to reflect the specific view of parent carers across the county.  We have developed 10 questions that we feel are most relevant to parent carers and would be very grateful for your time to respond.
There are two options – a very quick rating of how you agree/disagree with various statements and also, if you have more time, an opportunity to detail some examples to support your answer.

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* 1. New legislation for a new set of ‘national SEND standards’ 

To create consistent provision, processes and systems across the country. The standards will cover education, health and social care. There will be standards on how to identify and assess children’s needs, what sort of provision should be available in each area for different types of need, and how children with SEND should access support in mainstream schools. 

Should there be a new set of national SEND standards?

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* 2. New ‘local SEND partnerships’

To be led by local authorities, to assess the overall needs of children and young people with SEND in their area and plan the provision they need. Every local SEND partnership will have to produce a ‘local inclusion plan’, explaining how the SEND standards will be delivered in their area. There will also be greater clarity about which partners should fund specific forms of support and provision.

Should there be joined up partnership working between education, health and social care?

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* 3. A standardised national template for EHC Plans

Proposal to introduce an EHC Plan template meaning EHC Plans will look the same across the country, regardless of where you are in the UK.

Should there be a standardised template for EHC Plan?

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* 4. New process for naming a school/college in the EHC Plan

Local authorities will offer parents a ‘tailored list’ of provision within the local area that is appropriate for their child’s needs to enable them to express a preference, rather than parent carers being able to request any school as at present. This could be seen as an attempt to reduce the options available to parents as part of a focus to cap spiralling costs of extensive specialist provision. Parent carers may only be able to express a preference from a pre-determined list of schools that the local authority considers appropriate, with the focus being on what’s available in the local area rather than on individual children’s needs.

Should there be a tailored list of provision only within the local area when naming a school/ college in the EHC Plan?

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* 5. Early intervention

Emphasis on identifying needs early and putting support in place at an early stage, with the aim of keeping children in mainstream settings and avoiding the need for EHC plans. This would look to change the culture in mainstream schools to become better at identifying and supporting needs through improved early targeted support.

Should there be emphasis on early intervention and identifying needs?

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* 6. New SENCo National Professional Qualification (NPQ)

Introduction of a new SENCo National Professional Qualification (NPQ) for school SENCos instead of no specific qualifications for SENCos at present. The proposal is for the introduction of a new SENCo NPQ for school SENCos and increasing the number of staff with an accredited level 3 qualification in early years settings.

Should there be a new National Professional Qualification (NPQ) for school SENCos?

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* 7. A reformed and integrated role for alternative provision

Introduction of a reformed and integrated role for alternative provision (AP), for children who can’t attend mainstream school, whether for behavioural, health or other needs. This would require Local Authorities to make AP, focused on early intervention, an integral part of local SEND systems. It would support local authorities to create an alternative provision-specific budget and to develop a bespoke performance framework for alternative provision schools.

Should alternative provision be reformed and integrated?

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* 8. Plans to streamline the redress process (Appeal/Tribunal)

This includes the introduction of mandatory mediation before families can register a SEND Tribunal appeal. Currently it is compulsory to consider mediation but there is no obligation to actually engage in mediation. Making mediation compulsory (with two compulsory stages before families can even lodge a tribunal appeal - mediation, then local review) could create a significant barrier to parent carers and young people appealing to the SEND Tribunal.

Should the redress process be altered to include mandatory mediation prior to registering a tribunal appeal?

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* 9. Accountability

New National SEND Delivery Board to hold to account all elements of the system for supporting children and young people with SEND. Any new Board should potentially include the voice of parent carers with lived experience.

Should there be a national SEND Delivery Board to focus on accountability?

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* 10. Any other comments on the SEND Green paper proposals?

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.  Derbyshire Parent Carer Voice values the views of all parent carers – to find out more and get involved click HERE

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