The proposed single assessment and care plan for children with special educational needs and disabilities will be among proposals piloted by 20 pathfinders, the government announced today. Thirty-one local authorities and primary care trust partners will be involved.
The pathfinders will receive up to £150,000 per local authority a year to test some “core elements of reform” contained in the recent SEN and Disabilities Green Paper. Included is the implementation of a single education, health and care plan from birth to 25-years-old. The funding will last until March 2013.
The move follows initial concern that the proposed reforms muddied the role of the social worker.
The green paper is trying to tackle the perceived conflict of interest as councils conduct assessments of needs while also deciding the funding and support.
The pilots will also trial personal budgets for parents of children with disabilities and SEN, how partnerships can be strengthened between services and the role of the voluntary sector and parents in the new system.
As well as testing the cost of the reforms, the pilots will help the government determine whether a national funding framework would help parents understand the level of funding available to support their child’s needs.
Children and families minister Sarah Teather claimed the reforms were the biggest for 30 years “so we need to make sure we get them right”.
“It’s good to see that the overall response from parents, teachers and professionals is supportive of our vision for change.
“There are some interesting responses that will help us shape future policy decisions. For example, we can see that people think there should be a greater emphasis on meeting particular needs that emerge in school, just as much as identifying development problems in the early years.”
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