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A message from Matt Dunkley CBE:

13 September 2019 weekly update

13 September 2019

This week, Matt introduces the OECD Education at a Glance 2019 and a major DfE Review and NAO report on support for children with Special Educational Needs.

Dear Colleagues

Major DfE Review into support for children with Special Educational Needs

On the back of a DfE SEND call for evidence in the summer, last week the DfE followed this up with an announcement of a Review into support for children with Special Educational Needs. The Review aims to improve the services available to families who need support, equip staff in schools and colleges to respond effectively to their needs, as well as ending the ‘postcode lottery’ they often face.

The SEND Review will look at how the system has evolved, how it can be made to work best for all families and ensure quality of provision is the same across the country. Recognising the importance of joined-up support, it will also explore the role of health care in SEND in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care.

It will conclude with action to boost outcomes and improve value for money, so that vulnerable children have the same opportunities to succeed, as well as improving capacity and support for families across the country.

We await with interest further information about the Review and will provide further details as they emerge.

NAO Report: Support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in England

Aligned to this, the National Audit Office released this week a report entitled, Support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in England

This report assesses how well pupils with SEND are being supported. The NAO examined:

  • the system for supporting pupils with SEND and the outcomes it is achieving;
  • funding, spending and financial sustainability;
  • and the quality of support and experiences of pupils and parents.

The NAO report includes concerns from stakeholders, including parents and carers, about whether children with SEND are being supported effectively and about the impact of shortcomings in support.

The NAO report said that the DfE ‘did not fully assess the likely financial consequences of the 2014 reforms’ and had assumed that they would lead to cost savings. However, the NAO found that parents’ and carers’ satisfaction with the system had ‘not improved as the department intended’.

OECD: Education at a Glance 2019

Finally, I want to draw your attention to the report published this week by the OECD. This is an annual report and provides information on the state of education around the world. The full report and summary relating to the United Kingdom are now available.

Matt Dunkley CBE
Corporate Director
Children, Young People and Education