Meetings in SEND

I had a meeting this week in Wiltshire, with a commissioner from the council, a seminar as part of my AMBDA course with some Educational Psychologists from BANES and I’m in the middle of writing a book chapter on parents and schools working together to support dyslexic young people, mainly within an English context. And I’m sort of in a bit of a pickle.

There is some great practice out there around meeting the need for young people with SEND. There is some great research being done and some interesting ideas for supporting young people with wobbly literacy. There may even be some pennies available to fund these ideas and the research… in one county. Because: decentralisation and fragmentation.

The discrepancies and almost incomparable modes of delivery between the Local Authorities within a shortish bike ride from my house are shocking. From my town, people go to school in 3 different Las, which means that there are 3 different systems that their provision may fall under. Siblings, who attend different schools may have completely disparate referral processes for support, although nominally, young people are funded by their ‘home’ Local Authority.

For many years, while I was growing up (I’m knocking 40) and still now, there is talk of the postcode lottery of treatment within the NHS. I’ve never heard this spoken about positively. And now it’s happening in SEND provision. There is a postcode lottery and according to the newly-commissioned Government Review, it needs to be tackled.

That’s the postcode lottery that is a direct result of decentralisation and ‘freedom’ for local areas to develop their own provision models.

If ever there was a ‘facepalm’ moment, this is one. But this is kids’ education and their futures at stake. It needs more decisive action, more quickly and more efficiently than a mere facepalm allows for.

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