It has become increasingly clear that in the fast-moving daily challenges being experienced by the sector during the current pandemic there is a need for consistency and timeliness of responses, opportunities and support offered nationally, regionally and locally. There is a need to share developing skills and the emerging best practice effective risk assessment and safe operation for schools/colleges supporting pupils with complex SEND during COVID-19.
The National SEND Reference Group is chaired by Professor Adam Boddison and made up of about twenty system leaders* with a wealth of both operational and strategic leadership expertise across the education system and age range. They represent all areas of the country and there is a breadth of experience in relation to complexity of need. All have agreed to working collaboratively in pursuit of sharing skills and experience and learning from each other. They have therefore committed to sharing knowledge, ideas and information in an equitable and solution focused approach to securing effective risk assessment and safe operation for schools/colleges supporting pupils with complex SEND during COVID-19. The SEND Reference Group will be attended by officials from the Department for Education and other Departments as appropriate.
Established and hosted by Council for Disabled Children (CDC) and part-funded by nasen. SEC is a consortium of the voluntary sector, education providers and professional associations who work together to protect and promote the interests of disabled children and children with special educational needs. SEC works to ensure that children with special educational needs and disabled children get the education they need. Over the past 21 years, SEC has worked on issues affecting children and young people with SEN/ALN during the passage of 18 pieces of legislation. SEC started with the Education Act 1993 and is still going strong with the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Care Act more recently.
The National Special Educational Needs and Disability Forumis a regular meeting of the leading representatives of significant national organisations in this field. It is attended by the Department for Education. The National SEND Forum (NSENDF) is politically neutral, drawing together the providers, champions and commissioners of services for the most vulnerable in the maintained, non-maintained and independent sectors and across the 0-25 age range. The forum is facilitated and convened by the Federation of Leaders in Special Education (FLSE) and nasen.
Part funded by nasen, the SEN Policy Research Forum contributes intelligent analysis, knowledge and experience to promote the development of policy and practice for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
The policy papers since 1993 are on the forum’s website.
The forum recognises the uncertainties over what counts as ‘special educational needs’ and ‘disabilities’ in relation to a wider concept of ‘additional needs’. These will be among the many issues examined through the forum.