£30m to fund SEN champions – a waste of public money?

A press release from the DfE today announced that £30million will be used to fund champions to support families through the new SEN process.  Yes, £30,000,000!  Sounds good doesn’t it and I’m sure these champions will help some parents but personally I’m not convinced that this is the right way to spend taxpayers money.

I’d rather see the money invested into our education system because if the education system isn’t resourced enough to support ALL of our SEN children than no amount of championing is going to help.  Sorry guys but that’s the reality for some families like mine.  If there aren’t the schools, the specialist trained teachers and access to other therapies then no amount of champions are going to help.

I know myself that after going through the statementing process that the most challenging thing we faced was then to find a school that could meet need.   Quite simply we didn’t, not in the Midlands anyhow, which is why I’m not even bothering with the education system anymore.  I’ve wasted so much time and energy fighting for something that doesn’t exist that I’m now doing it myself.  This is proving to be a much more satisfying and positive experience than fighting against a system that is not up to the job of educating my daughter.  It also means my daughter is getting an education as I’m no longer preoccupied with fighting for that provision.

So for me I am not impressed that public money is going to fund key workers.  I know that for my family having a key worker would not have improved our situation.  In any case we already had access to support (Ipsea, Parent Partnership).  What we needed was access to a properly resourced  education system!

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2 Responses to £30m to fund SEN champions – a waste of public money?

  1. I used to say that a key worker was the most important thing missing in the system – but as you say, if the system doesn’t work, then no amount of advice is going to make things better! In my daughter’s case it could have made a difference, but a key worker will not be able to change the reality of no schools in Ireland just for teenagers with aspergers…

    • Aspie in the family says:

      Thanks for replying. I’m sure for some families this will be welcome news. However, as you’ve said if the system is not working and there aren’t the schools then its not going to help very much.

      I suspect though that the tory government isn’t interested in our aspergers children; these will be some of the children who I don’t think will be included in the new SEN system. There is already a suggestion that the new plans (which will be replacing the current statements of SEN) will only be given out to a few children, those I presume who have severe disabilities. Certainly in my area which is one of the areas piloting these reforms this is what is happening; they are only working with families of children with severe and multiple disabilities.

      What will happen to those children and young people with less severe disabilities I dread to think. Before the reforms were launched there was plenty of commentary that suggested the government thought that SEN was either being abused by schools or was an excuse for poor parenting. I suspect this has influenced the approach to the new SEN reforms which feels to me like another Tory cost cutting exercise.

      Even more worrying is that the gov will be removing the graduated approach in schools which helps to identify a child’s difficulties and provide tailored support even before they get a statement. I think the government seem to think that by upping a teachers training that this will rectify this but I don’t think it will. Training in SEN and disability is essential but so is an approach that can identify a child’s SEN. As we know if they don’t pick up these difficulties it can leader to much more complex problems later on which inevitably has a bigger cost on society.


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