The Guardian reported this week on what “the government described as the biggest reform of SEN for 30 years”. You can read their article in full here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/may/15/parents-special-educational-needs-budgets
Following public consultation and reviews, the Children and Families Bill will be the medium through which the reforms will be implemented. From 2014, a single birth to 25 assessment process will replace the current learning difficulty assessments and SEN statements.
Parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) have long campaigned for better joined-up care and support from health, education and social services. Sarah Teather, Minister for Children and Families, said, “Thousands of families have had to battle for months, even years, with different agencies to get the specialist care their children need. It is unacceptable they are forced to go from pillar to post facing agonising delays and bureaucracy to get support, therapy and equipment.”
The new reforms stipulate that parents will have the right to decide how the personal budget for their child is spent, with health, education and social services being legally responsible for the joined-up delivery of this support.
Parents will also be able to choose expert support from external agencies rather than local education and NHS services. This means that parents can access independent service providers such as Integrated Treatment Services through their personal budgets. It will not be compulsory for parents to manage the budgets, who can opt to leave the budgets with the local authority. However it is highly likely that many parents will want as much control as possible over how the budget is spent. Looking to independent organisations for service delivery will also allay fears about recent cuts to local authority services such as speech and language therapy and educational psychology.
If you think that your child may benefit from speech and language therapy or associated therapies, Integrated Treatment Services could be of help. Contact us here:http://integratedtreatmentservices.co.uk/contact-us/enquiry
Sarah Bennington, May 2012
Written on behalf of Integrated Treatment Services. Integrated Treatment Service is a private Speech and Language Therapy service based in Leicestershire, East Midlands and Southern England. It specialises in providing highly-skilled Speech and Language Therapists, but also associates with other therapeutic professionals, including Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists and Arts Psychotherapists