DfE awards contracts to support children with SEND

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Children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi has set out new measures to boost support for children and young people with additional needs.

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Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed three new contracts supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), providing additional advice for their families and improving training for school staff.

The contracts are:

  • A contract worth £20m with the Council for Disabled Children, in partnership with Contact, to provide families and young people with SEND with impartial advice, support and information.
  • A £3.8m contract with Contact, in partnership with KIDS and the Council for Disabled Children, to promote and develop strategic participation by young people and parents.
  • A SEND school workforce contract, worth £3.4m over two years, with nasen and University College London, on behalf of the Whole School SEND Consortium, to help schools deliver high-quality SEND by bringing them together with voluntary organisations and experts.

In addition to the contracts, the DfE has developed new tools in partnership with nasen and Action for Children to create a job description and specification for Level 3 early years special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs).

The DfE also announced over 98 per cent of statements of special educational needs (SEN) were successfully reviewed by local authorities by the 31 March 2018 deadline, as part of the transfer to new education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi said, ‘We want every child to have the support they need to unlock their potential, no matter what challenges they face. Today’s data shows that almost all of SEN statements were reviewed on time, which is testament to the hard work of councils, their partners, and families all over the country to give children and young people with SEND the support they deserve.

‘The new contracts we are announcing today, worth more than £25m, will build on the progress we have seen over the last four years to make sure children, young people and their families have access to excellent support to help guide them through the new system.

‘We are also putting in place new measures to improve the SEND training available to school staff, including tools to develop the role of early years SEND coordinators – building on a commitment set out in our Early Years Workforce Strategy.’

The SEND school workforce contract be delivered through the Whole School SEND consortium which is hosted by nasen and chaired by its chief executive Dr Adam Boddison.

Commenting on the contract, Dr Boddison said, ‘We are committed to providing the most effective and relevant support to those working with children and young people with SEND.

‘Our knowledge and expertise over the years has enabled us to support thousands of SEND professionals from a range of sectors, and now, thanks to this extra funding, and through our Whole School SEND consortium partners, we can work even more closely together with schools and settings to ensure that the needs of all children and young people are met.’

  • Nursery World is holding a one-day conference on 6 July on SEND in the early years. For more information and to book your place by 31 May to take advantage of early bird rates click here
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