A fairer deal for children with special educational needs

By on 10/02/2015 in Cllr Jones, News

A strategy giving children and young adults with special educational needs fairer opportunities is set to be approved by cabinet.

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet is being recommended to approve the Special Education Development Plan (SEDP), which covers children and young people up to the age of 25.

The SEDP will focus on three key strands: the way in which special education provision is commissioned, safeguarding all young people by ensuring that everyone with special educational needs has access to sufficient education at early years, school and college level, and reducing youth unemployment and improving the life chances of young people with special educational needs by ensuring a smooth transition through education and into adulthood.

A consultation into the SEDP took place between September and November last year, including three school-based consultation events for parents, organised in partnership with Birmingham Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) and Birmingham Parent Carer Forum.

An online survey was also conducted, revealing that:

  • 66 per cent of respondents had an overall ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ impression of what was being proposed with the SEDP;
  • 79 per cent thought the SEDP ‘fully’ or ‘mostly’ supported providing high quality information, advice and support for all young people with special educational needs;
  • 79 per cent felt the SEDP ‘fully’ or ‘mostly’ supported increasing the options available to young people aged 14 to 25 years;
  • 78 per cent thought the SEDP ‘fully’ or ‘mostly’ supported an increase in participation of young people with special educational needs in decision making about their support;
  • 70 per cent believed that the SEDP ‘fully’ or ‘mostly’ supported creating fairer access to good and welcoming schools, whole 71 per cent thought it ‘fully or mostly’ promoted greater independence for children.

One parent who took part in the consultation praised the SEDP for being positive about their son’s needs and that it would support him when he starts schools this year.

Cllr Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children and family services, said: “The Special Education Development Plan will make a real difference to the children and young people who need it the most, as well as to their families and carers.

“One of the key differences is that young people and their families will have greater choice and control over their support. Additionally, we will find a school or college place for every child and young person in the right part of the city and for all types of need, avoiding the need for them to travel long distances wherever possible.

“The SEDP is also about planning for the long-term – not just for when a child is five or 15, but for when they are 25 and even 55 or older.â€

Cabinet will consider the report and agree a decision when it meets on Monday, February 16.

-ENDS-

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