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Free webinar aimed at helping parents get SEN provision

by Victoria Federico

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An upcoming free webinar aimed at parents of children with disabilities is made more timely by the conclusions of the second annual report by schools inspectorate Ofsted.

While acknowledging that the quality of education and care in England is ‘good and improving’, Ofsted highlighted the problems that remain, especially in the education of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Ofsted‘s report suggests that thousands of children and young people with SEND are not getting the vital support to which they are entitled. It maintained that diagnoses were taking too long, were often inaccurate and noted that, in 2018, more than 2,000 children with agreed Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) were still awaiting provision, almost three times more than in 2010.

Getting SEN support more difficult than ever

The Department for Education disputes the Ofsted figures, pointing out that in 2017 more than 4,000 awaited provision, suggesting that halving that number was ‘an improvement’, but as far as Victoria Federico, head of Shoosmiths’ education law team, is concerned, that’s still 2,000 too many:

She suggests that the Ofsted report mirrors the findings of an earlier survey by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) showing that 94% of those heads who participated in the report believe ‘it is now more difficult to resource SEND provision than it was two years ago’.

Free live webinar for help and advice

Parents of disabled children (such as Finlay Mudge) seeking help can get immediate advice from Victoria, who is co-hosting a live webinar (audio only) with Dawn Stilwell, Senior Parent Advisor of the charity Contact.

The webinar is free and runs 12pm – 1pm on Monday 10 December 2018 and will cover Special Educational Needs Law, SEN support and Education, Health and Care Plans.

Anyone interested in participating in the webinar, which will include a Q&A session, should go to:

https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/964398536196883713

Victoria comments:

‘Local authorities are required by law to provide youngsters with identified special educational needs – whether due to physical disability, mental or psychological impairment or both – with an appropriate education. It may well be harder to get local authorities to fulfil their legal obligations, but the fact remains that an EHCP with the correct provision adequately funded, is a legally enforceable document and is worth fighting for. I would urge any parent concerned about their child’s education to register for the webinar and seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.’

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