The Times Educational Supplement SEN show has moved online this year due to the pandemic and the keynote speech was delivered by the Right Honourable Vicky Ford MP, Under Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education. She spoke at length about the fantastic job that staff across the education sector had been doing during the last year and thanked those especially who were working with SEND pupils. The main part of her speech was around the SEND review and the need for consultation with those across the sector be that parents and carers, professionals and pupils themselves. A number of key points were highlighted regarding:
- how outcomes are measured for SEND pupils,
- how Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) can be embedded from EYFS upwards,
- the need for early provision support and
- how the SEND community can be made more financially sustainable.
Consultation around the review may well provide the opportunities for comment and innovative and effective solutions.
There was an announcement that a further £3.5 million has been added to the Family Fund to support families of children with disabilities to purchase essential items during this unprecedented time.
She also highlighted the impact upon mental health as a result of the pandemic and the continued need for government funding within this area. She will shortly be sending an open letter to all stakeholders to highlight the additional support that is available.