Statement of Concern on Current SEND provisions.
21st January 2022
My name is Hannah Morris and I’m an Educational Psychologist at EdPsych4Kids. I’ve been in independent practice for over a decade, having previously worked for Local Authorities. In supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), I’ve had the privilege to work with skilled and dedicated teachers and practitioners from Education, Health and Care services. The parents and carers I work with have taught me what it means to be resilient, and I’m lucky to have met so many talented, caring and passionate young people, who inspire me to be the best Psychologist I can.
Over the last decade, the provisions available to support our most vulnerable children have been stripped away to a point where the system is beyond crisis. National Health Service (NHS) and Local Authority practitioners, working in understaffed teams, are risking their own mental health and wellbeing, trying to continue to support children who desperately need assessments and therapies, and advise education settings in how to meet their complex and diverse needs.
Lack of external support means educators are risking their physical and mental health trying to help pupils with SEND, families are breaking down from the emotional turmoil and the children themselves are suffering on a daily basis. In the vast majority of cases, unless a child’s family can afford (or take a loan) to pay for help, then they are waiting months, sometimes years, to access support from specialist services. The socio-economic divide is real, every day, for these disadvantaged children. It is nothing short of a travesty to claim there are functional services for children with SEND.
The solution is not easy, but there are clear starting points:
- Actively listen to the children, families, educators, charities and specialist practitioners who work incredibly hard, on a daily basis, in trying to overcome barriers and promote children’s learning and development.
- Ensure consistency of high quality training across trainee teacher programmes, so newly qualified teachers have a clear understanding of, and are skilled to implement, effective practice for SEND pupils.
- Ensure accountability of all decision making throughout the Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment and planning process.
- Sufficiently fund NHS and Local Authority SEND and mental health services, so practitioners have the capacity to work in a manner that reflects best practice and enables positive long-term outcomes for children: providing early identification and intervention, developing consistent relationships over time and delivering regular, up-to-date training.
The system to access SEND support was broken before the pandemic. It is now imploding.
Urgent action must be taken to ensure equality of provisions for all children with SEND, so their strengths and needs can be clearly understood, their voices heard and provisions put in place to enable them to thrive in their education.
Educational Psychologist, EdPsych4Kids
BSc, PGCE, MSc, CPsychol, AFBPsS
HCPC, DBS and ICO registered
UPDATE 29th March 2022
The Government have released the SEND Review Green Paper. You can read the review and submit your comments here:
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