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Letter to new Education Secretary raises SEND Review concerns from education select committee

18 Jul 2022|12:01

A letter has been sent to James Cleverly, the new Secretary of State for Education, to express the concerns of the Education Select committee in response to the SEND review. The letter, penned by Robert Halfon, chair of the select committee, represents the views of the committee and the views from the session held on the 24th May in response to the green paper. The letter expresses the positive views on aspects of the report and calls for greater clarity as to how the review will work in conjunction with the Schools White Paper.

An area of contention is the drive for attendance set against the backdrop of inclusion. The letter states: “The committee would like to know more about any work the department has done to ensure that attendance and attainment performance measures do not disincentivise the inclusion of children and young people with SEND within schools.”

The other area that may affect inclusion is the drive for 90% of all pupils attaining expected level of reading, maths and writing and the average GCSE point score to increase from 4.5 to 5 by 2030. In the letter, committee chair Robert Halfon explains that expert witnesses who spoke to the committee during a session in May told MPs that “a key issue” with the current SEND system is that schools are “incentivised to focus on attainment, attendance and good behaviour, which for good reasons can be challenging areas for some SEND pupils”.
The committee comments on the “lack of accountability” and a “lack of resources” across the system that the green paper does not seem to address. The committee reinforce the call for no school to be graded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ without their practice for SEND being ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. 

The consultation deadline is 22nd July and responses from all stakeholders are encouraged.