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SEND reforms – initial analysis

Initial analysis suggests that reforms to the special educational needs and disability (SEND) support system have helped to make the assessment process more family friendly, but has so far failed to improve the health and quality of life for children.

An interim report that evaluates the impact of the new SEND assessment process on families’ experiences found “varying levels of progress” in pathfinder areas where key elements of the reforms were first trialled. 

Families reported their views and suggestions were listened to during the assessment process with these also being reflected in the decisions over what support needed to be put in place. They also praised the length and straightforwardness of the assessment planning process. However, parents still reported having to explain their child’s needs on multiple occasions – something the new system is trying to reduce – and importantly there appeared to be no improvement in the perceived “fairness” of the decisions arrived at. 

Parents were also impressed with how professionals involved in the assessment of their child shared information but they reported no significant improvement in how they, or their services, worked together.