Assessment - Statements scrapped

25th March 2011 at 00:00

The statement - the foundation of the SEN system for more than 30 years - will be scrapped and replaced with a "combined education, health and care plan" lasting until the age of 25, under one of the most radical coalition proposals.

The "school action" and "school action plus" categories for children with SEN - but without a statement - will also be axed. In their place will be a simpler register to "help teachers focus on raising attainment" and stop what ministers view as the "over-identification" of SEN.

Ministers say the plans will allow joined-up support for education and health issues, cutting bureaucracy and multiple assessments.

But SEN charities and organisations are concerned the plan will lack "teeth" unless health workers are compelled by legislation to contribute to the assessment.

Brian Lamb, who led the previous government's SEN review, said: "There are complex details to sort out, especially how different health and education entitlements can be forged into a clear accountability structure for parents that would (reassure them) that what was promised ... would be delivered."

The plan will give pupils the same legal rights as a statement. But NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said the changes "will simply create anxiety and fear that children may no longer qualify for support".

But Chris Husbands, director of London University's Institute of Education, believes the proposals could offer advantages. He added: "The challenge of joining up education, social care and health provision are enormous and quality assurance systems that focus on the results of such partnerships will be vital."

Changes are also likely to the role of educational psychologists. Department for Education officials believe parental confidence is undermined by the "conflict of interest" caused by the local authority providing support and assessing children's needs.

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