Local Authorities' Perceptions of how Parents and Young People with Special Educational Needs will be Affected by the 2011 Green Paper

Caroline Sharp, Monica Hetherington, Nalia George

12 September 2011

Executive summary | Further information and related reports

The drive to further support and improve outcomes for parents and young people is the focus of the 2011 DfE Green Paper on special educational needs (SEN) and Disability. Its proposals have a strong emphasis on local decision making and autonomy and reflect the government’s localism agenda.

In the light of these ongoing developments and their implications for families, schools and local authorities (LAs), the Local Government (LG) Group commissioned NFER to capture LA perspectives of how the parents of children and young people with SEN and of Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LLDD) will be affected by the Green Paper. The aim was to identify key implications for LAs in the light of the proposed changes, by collecting information from LA staff responsible for children with SEN and LLDD.

Key Findings

  • Interviewees supported the main thrust of the Green Paper, especially early identification, improved parental engagement and collaborative working between professionals.
  • There was widespread support for a single assessment, and LA staff agreed that there was a need for better integration, commitment and accountability across agencies.
  • The proposal for greater partnership working with the voluntary and community sector (VCS) was also welcomed by interviewees. The key strengths of the VCS were identified as flexibility, more choice in provision and greater parental confidence and trust. However, interviewees expressed some concern about the capacity of the VCS to offer unbiased and comprehensive advice and support.
  • There were mixed views on the proposed single category of SEN, but interviewees welcomed the Green Paper’s emphasis on greater choice for parents, and were in favour of parents having personal budgets to spend on services for their children.
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