Local authorities to trial SEN reforms

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Twenty pathfinders will trial proposals to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.



The Department for Education has named 20 projects in the programme throughout the country, which will test out the main reforms to Government policy proposed in the SEN and disabilities Green Paper.

These include:

  • a single education, health and care plan from birth to 25-years-old, focussing on improving outcomes
  • personal budgets for parents of disabled children and those with SEN
  • better commissioning
  • the role of voluntary and community sector organisations and parents in a new system
  • the cost of reform


    Pathfinders will also test some ‘optional elements’, including the impact of reforms in children in the early years, and whether a national funding framework would help parents understand what funding is available to support their child’s needs.

    Some of the pathfinders include a group of areas working together. In the South East, the SE7 consortium includes Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Medway, Surrey and West Sussex councils.

    Pathfinders will receive £150,000 per local authority per year.

    The Government consultation on the changes received 2,378 responses with a quarter from parents and parents’ organisations.

    Children’s minister Sarah Teather said, ‘We're proposing the biggest reforms in 30 years to help disabled children and those with special educational needs so we need to make sure we get them right. It’s good to see that the overall response from parents, teachers and professionals is supportive of our vision for change.

    ‘There are some interesting responses that will help us shape future policy decisions. For example, we can see that people think there should be a greater emphasis on meeting particular needs that emerge in school, just as much as identifying development problems in the early years.’

    The other pathfinders are:

    South East
    South West
    Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

    Bromley and Bexley

    East of England
    East and West Midlands
    Northamptonshire and Leicestershire
    North West
    Oldham/ Rochdale

    North East
    Hartlepool and Darlington
    Yorkshire and Humber
    North Yorkshire

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