A government report on cutting bureaucracy in special educational
needs has been attacked for undermining the entitlement of children
with learning difficulties to receive the services they need.
The report from the Cabinet Office’s regulatory impact unit and the
Department for Education and Skills, says SEN services could be
greatly improved by cutting bureaucracy through streamlining
processes, closer working of agencies and clearer funding
However, the National Autistic Society said the changes proposed in
the report threatened the legal entitlement of children with SEN,
particularly those with learning difficulties, to have a statement
by calling for a review of the definition of SEN and the SEN code
It also said that the proposal for SEN funding to be given directly
to schools would mean less accountability for spending funds based
on the needs of individual children.
The report says the statutory process of assessing special needs
has excessive and repetitive information requirements, and that the
SEN and disability tribunal processes involve considerable
However, NAS policy and campaigns officer Amanda Batten said that
by reducing the need for a statement for all schools SEN
entitlement would be undermined.
“It is going that step further to say it is an objective for all
schools to reduce statements come what may.
“We understand people want to cut bureaucracy, but if people are
going to be given funds, you have to have accountability,” she
Batten said the report would not help the current situation where
some local authorities were already saying they didn’t do
statements any more, despite this being a legal requirement where
there was a need.
The DfES has indicated it will circulate an action list on SEN
changes arising from this project to all schools this autumn.
Meanwhile, a NAS survey has revealed that 86 per cent of disability
employment advisers had supported someone with an autistic spectrum
disorder in the past two years but only a third felt that they had
sufficient knowledge to help them gain work.