Steve McCabe MP, Shadow Minister for Children and Families meets with SEN Parent Partnership Service

Steve McCabe MP, Shadow Minister for Children and Families has recently been consulting SEN specialist schools and organisations about the Government’s proposed reforms to SEN provision and met with Birmingham’s SEN Parent Partnership Service to discuss the implications for pupils with SEN.

The Children’s and Families Bill was introduced to Parliament in February 2013 and proposed significant changes to the way children and young people with SEN are assessed. As part of the bill, proposals were put forward for children with SEN and their families to replace Statements of Special Educational Needs with a single assessment process and an Education, Health and Care Plan from 2014 which will extend until age 25. The introduction of Education, Health and Care Plans would give children, young people and their families more rights to health services. The Bill also proposes giving parents or young people the right to a personal budget for their support.

Steve consulted specialist SEN providers about the reforms and met with one of those providers, SEN Parent Partnership service to find out what impact they think the reforms will have on SEN pupils and services in Birmingham. The SEN Parent Partnership Service works to ensure that parents of children with special education needs are fully involved in the assessment and educational provision for those children.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“It was great to meet with the head of SEN Parent Partnership Service, Nasreen Hussain and deputy head, Nick Taynton and Professor Michael Hughes to discuss how the proposed changes will affect SEN pupils in Birmingham and what guarantees parents will have once statements are removed that their children will have provisions in place for their education.

“It was interesting to hear that there are 39,000 children in Birmingham with SEN statements and this number is expected to grow. While I welcome many of the reforms and think it’s important that children and young people with SENs and disabilities are given the support they need to reach their true potential, I do think the Government have missed an opportunity to extend the same rights to any social care needs.

“The big problem with the legislation seems to be the Code of Practice which many parents think is inadequate and the lack of a clear system for appeal or redress. Parents of children with special needs are rightly suspicious of a system where they are use to battling for the resources their children need. Unless the Government addresses these concerns, their fine words will fail to convince.”

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