Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Children and young people with complex disabilities should have access to a full education, with the right support around them so they have the best start in life.

A child or young person has Special Educational Needs if they need additional support to access their education, because they’re disabled or have a long term health condition.  

Many of the children and families we support are facing significant challenges with the current SEND systemWe work closely with our Children’s Specialist Services team to understand these challenges and inform our influencing work with governmentMany children are struggling to secure their education, health and care plan or not receiving the support they need, and funding cuts to services have significantly impacted the support and services available. 

What we’re calling for 

  • Improved joint working between education, health and social care providers so that children and young people with SEND can access the support they need.  
  • Government should provide a long term funding settlement and plan for children with SEND so that services are able to provide consistent support to children and young people throughout their school career.  
  • Home to school transport should not be a barrier to accessing education, and there should be greater oversight and accountability from government to ensure that all eligible children with SEND receive the transport provision they are entitled to.  

What we’ve achieved 

During summer 2021 we asked parents and families to share their experiences with us of securing education, care and support for their disabled childWe’re now reviewing the experiences of 150 respondents to make sure we’re working on issues that matter to our families in upcoming government consultations.

Over the last year, we’ve contributed to numerous consultations into how the SEND system is working, and what needs to be done to fix it.  

We’ve submitted written evidence to the Education Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee, and along with other charities helped to secure a government internal review of the SEND system, to be published in winter 2020.  

Weve also worked with other charities to secure additional funding for children with SEND over the last year.   

Last year, we ran a policy inquiry into the home to school transport system after many families told us about the challenges they faced in securing transport to get their child to school. We ran a series of focus groups and a survey with parents to identify the cause of these challenges and hope to publish a report soon.