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Unpacking the SEND Review Consultation

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Unpacking the SEND Review Consultation2
Unpacking the SEND Review Consultation2

Imagine a roadmap for improving education, especially for children who need extra support. That’s what the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) review is all about! In March 2023, the Department for Education (DfE) shared its thoughts on how to make things better in a document called ‘Right Support, Right Place, Right Time’. This review aims to change how we help children with SEND.

This blog will dive into it. Focusing on how these changes might affect the early years sector, we’ll also compare it with the 2015 SEND Code of Practice to see what’s new for the future of supporting children with SEND …

A Paradigm Shift in SEND Provision

If you’ve been wondering how your nursery or early years setting can provide better support to children with additional needs, look no further. The SEND review suggests some interesting guidance you can identify, understand and support them to make a real difference in their learning journey.

  • Early Intervention as the Cornerstone

When looking at early years development, the SEND review prioritises early intervention. This aligns with a crucial principle: identifying and addressing children’s needs at the earliest stage creates the most significant impact on their future. This new emphasis on quick response and implementation of strategies is a step in a more proactive direction. It means that practitioners require the knowledge and skills to recognise these needs in early years children. 

  • An Individualised Approach

While the 2015 SEND document laid out a broad framework for support plans, the SEND review takes a leap from a general approach to becoming more child-specific. The emphasis is on a personalised approach with each child’s support plan tailored to match their own unique, diverse and individualised needs. This means that no child’s needs should go unmet, and they should receive the precise support, care and guidance they need to thrive. This falls in line with how curriculums have evolved over the last 5 years with an emphasis on individualised learning for all children but will need some oversight into how effective the implementation of the plans are in practice. 

  • Integration and Collaboration

The SEND review is all about making sure every child feels included. To do that, it suggests that early years settings and mainstream schools team up to work together, creating the best possible learning space for children with additional needs. By joining forces, the aim is to build a community where everyone supports each other, including parents, for a well-rounded and inclusive support network with the children at the centre. This ideal may be difficult to achieve with the support of local authorities, which can change from borough to borough.

  • The Importance of Involving Parents

By recognising the crucial role parents play in their child’s educational journey, the SEND review highlights the importance of involving them in all decision-making processes for their child. The goal is to make sure their voices aren’t just heard but actively contribute to shaping the support that impacts their child’s learning and development to strengthen the strategies put into place. It’s not always easy for parents to accept that their children are not developing as they should, so we must always ensure these conversations are approached appropriately and with sufficient evidence. 

  • Holistic Well-Being

Supporting a child with SEND goes beyond what they can do; it’s about making sure they feel good in every way – physically, mentally and emotionally. Unlike the 2015 Code of Practice, the 2023 SEND Review puts more importance on giving all-round support not only to help them with development, but also to make sure SEND children are healthy, happy and feeling good overall to ensure they excel in all aspects of life.

  • Streamlined Process

It’s not always easy to fully understand government guidance, and the SEND Code of Practice 2015 certainly contains some bureaucratic challenges. The aim of the 2023 SEND Review is to simplify processes and protocols to help get things right. They suggest that we should have reduced administrative duties to free up time to concentrate on helping children with SEND directly, but this may be something that requires further consultation in the future. For some local authorities, training is all around the paperwork of evidence and referrals, so it may not feel like this has been updated yet. 

Preparing for Progress

The forthcoming changes outlined in the SEND Review indicate a shift in the landscape for early years Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) and practitioners. Here’s a quick rundown of potential changes:

Increased training demands

The review’s emphasis on early intervention and individualised support means professionals within your setting may need to upskill to identify and address children’s needs at an earlier stage.

Workload Adjustments

With a focus on individualised support, plans and collaboration, there might be a shift in workload to accommodate this to deliver better support and outcomes for children with SEND.

Enhanced Collaboration

Prepare for increased collaboration and coordination with local schools and external agencies for a more integrated approach to SEND. Reaching out and introducing yourself now may make communication easier further down the line.

Focus on Well-Being

Supporting children with SEND goes beyond academics to encompass physical, mental and emotional health, and your policies and procedures should reflect this to ensure the overall well-being of children is being assessed and supported holistically.

Active Parental Engagement

Unpacking the SEND Review Consultation1

Reaching out to parents to engage them with their child’s development is essential for a unified approach. Encouraging them to participate in decision-making processes regarding their child will help ensure that supported and sustainable plans are implemented.

As the SEND Review unfolds, it’s an ideal opportunity for early years settings to play an essential role in enhancing the support and outcomes for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Yes, we’ll have to change the way we do things, but those changes will open the door for children to experience better outcomes and for us to provide more valuable support to families.

Ready to improve support for children with SEND in your setting? Explore our SEND courses designed for early years professionals. Take the next step in enhancing the skills of your team to make a positive impact on the children you care for.

Click here to access our comprehensive selection of SEND training courses.

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