Yesterday Angela and I went to two events in London that underlined the fight that families still face to get their children the right special education support.
A year on from the implementation of the SEND reforms, and it is clear from the Joining The Dots report launched yesterday by The Driver Youth Trust that things have not gone smoothly the vast majority of the time. I know this from personal experience too.
But things must get better, and soon. The report made several recommendations that I hope the Department for Education take seriously.
The launch, at Parliament, was supposed to be hosted by the Labour spokesman for SEND, Sharon Hodgson, but apparently she had last minute more pressing matter to do to manage to actually attend, a great shame, as I would have liked to hear her views.
There was time for brief catch ups with two of our columnists, Malcolm Reeve and the SENCo AKA @AspieDeLaZouch. We also chatted with, among others the lovely David Bartram and Anita Kerwin Nye of the SEND London Leadership Strategy, the wonderful woman behind the report, Sarah Driver and meeting the marvellously irrepressible teacher and SEND parent Nancy Gedge.
But we had another stop to make. The SEN solicitor, Dougla Silas, was celebrating his 10th anniversary in the role. Douglas is much admired by parents and colleagues alike, not least for his habit of winning cases for parents, but also for building up an award-winning practice despite the physical challenges of living with a degenerative disease. I once consulted Douglas about Son1's case, unsure I could win it alone. He told me I could, my compiled report was sound and to go get 'em. I did. His site is a font of knowledge on SEND law. Douglas wrote about the reforms on SNJ here.
It was also fab to catch up with the now former CEO of IPSEA, Jane McConnell, who is now to be found on the bench at the SEND Tribunal. Our Legal Answers section will be revived soon (so much to do, so little time!)
And now, here is a clip of Sarah Driver of The Driver Youth Trust,mcapturing perfectly what needs to happen now.
- Missing the mark: Anxiety and avoidance, illustrated. - October 21, 2020
- SNJ in Conversation: Teaching Assistants, their role and how schools can use them effectively - October 16, 2020
- More than one in three disabled pupils experience bullying in mainstream school, plus other concerning SEND stats - October 13, 2020