SEND green paper: What we have to say

We welcome the sentiments of the green paper and believe now is the time to ensure special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) education works to enable every child to access the support they need to reach their potential.

The development of National Standards for SEND provision is welcome, however, these standards will only be effective if they are flexible enough to meet the individual needs of children and young people and there is real accountability.

We are disappointed there is no mention of specialist support for low-incidence disabilities. Specialist support such as qualified teachers of children and young people with vision impairment (QTVIs) and habilitation (mobility and independent living) specialists play a crucial role in the educational outcomes of blind and partially sighted learners. There must be clear guidance on the role of this specialist support and a commitment to fund this support fully.

Specialist support should be available to schools and colleges, enabling any blind or partially sighted student to access the support they need. We know many blind and partially sighted learners are not getting access to specialist support services in post-16 education. This needs to be addressed in any future reforms.

Support should include access to technology, which is vital in enabling many blind and partially sighted students to access information and resources independently.

We welcome the acknowledgement of the need for better careers advice provision for young people with SEND.

We believe any reforms to SEND support must address the wider learning needs of disabled students and take into consideration technology, mobility and independent living skills. ALL students must be able to access learning and education and achieve the outcomes that they want.

Find out more about the work we are doing in this area. We are also working in partnership with RNIB, Guide Dogs and the professional association for the vision impairment education workforce (VIEW) on a sector response to these issues. Download the joint response to the green paper here.

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