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SEN changes leave schools in urgent need of guidance, says Lorraine Peterson

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Proposed changes to SEND provision in schools, contained in the draft Children and Families bill, have left schools in urgent need of guidance, says Lorraine Petersen, the chief executive of professional association Nasen.

Speaking at the NAHT's sold-out SEND conference in Nottingham, Lorraine raised concerns for schools around funding reform , local authority frameworks, curriculum reform and staff training.

Funding was particularly problematic, she said, due to the lack of coherent messages coming from the government. 

"We have to be very clear what money is coming in and how we spend it," she said. "Without accountability some of the money for our most vulnerable young people will get lost. The pot is not as big as it once was, and it's  got to go further.

Her concerns were echoed by Paul Williams, the chair of the NAHT's SEND committee. THere was now a massive range of initiatives and development around SEND, he said, but structure and coherence was lacking. "Schools need to understand the direction things are going in," he said. 

Debates around academies and free schools added to a significantly complex shift in SEND policy, he noted. 

Stephen Kingdom from the Department for Education told the conference the bill was set to be implemented in September 2014. 

The conference is the NAHT's first stand alone SEND event since 2007.  Speaking at its opening, NAHT president Steve Iredale promised that the "very special" event would be the first of many. "This is a very difficult times for all schools, but there is a real sense of a turn of  the tide. It's high time that he profession regained control," he said.



Page Published: 01/03/2013