Labour SEN Policy Review – want to get involved?

This is taken from the website of Sharon Hodgson MP, but I thought it might be useful to post it here too, in case anyone hasn't seen it and wants to get involved. I am already involved in a meeting on Monday for the Surrey Pathfinder trials for the proposed EHCP but this looks like an interesting opportunity for anyone interested in helping Labour form its own updated SEN policy:



The Labour Party are seeking your views on how to build on the work of the last decade in improving educational outcomes for children and young people with specialeducational needs and disabilities, to inform their policies in the run-up to the next general election.

Review Panel :

  • Sharon Hodgson MP, Shadow Minister for Children and Families (Chair);
  • Cllr Luke Akehurst, Hackney Council and Labour Party National Executive Committee member;
  • Cllr Richard Watts, Executive Member for Children, Islington Council;
  • Alex Cunningham MP, Education Select Committee Member;
  • Young people’s representatives (tbc).

Purpose and aims

The review seeks to bring together children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents or carers, as well as those involved in providing for their needs, and those who champion better services and outcomes for them, to achieve the following aims:

  •  To examine the current landscape of provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, including highlighting examples of current best practice.
  •  To crystallise opinions on the Department for Education’s ‘Support and Aspiration’ Green Paper;
  • To work towards a clear pledge of what children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents or carers should be able to expect from education, health and social care services in identifying and providing for their needs.
  • To generate, and provide a basis for the development of, new and innovative ideas to improve the identification of and provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, while achieving the best possible use of limited resources.


The review will be held over four distinct evidence sessions:

Session 1 – The Green Paper and next steps

Tuesday 28 Feb, 11.00-13.00, Committee Room 5, House of Commons

Scope: General discussion on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats from the government’s ‘Support and Aspiration’ Green Paper.

Ideal contributors: Any individuals, groups or organisations with an interest in the future of SEN provision.

Session 2 – Teacher training and specialist professionals

Tuesday 6 Mar, 4.30-6.30, Committee Room 5, House of Commons

Scope: Exploring ways of improving knowledge and expertise withing the education workforce, including whether to increase the time given over to SEN in initial teacher training and continuous professional development/INSET days, building on what is in the Green Paper on encouraging up-skilling.

Ideal contributors: Representatives of teachers/headteachers and early years professionals, ITT/CPD providers, local authorities, specialist staff.

Session 3 – Identification and provision

Tuesday 20 Mar, 5.30-7.30, Committee Room 8, House of Commons

Scope: How best to identify and provide for children with SENs, and establishing what parents and children should be able to expect from the various agencies involved in doing so.

Ideal contributors: Parents and young people, representatives of teachers/headteachers and early years professionals, local authorities, academies/free schools and PVI special schools/settings.

Session 4 – Accountability and the role of local authorities

Tuesday 27 Mar, 4.30-6.30, Committee Room 5, House of Commons

Scope: How to bring accountability back to provision, including what the role of local authorities should be, and what parents should be able to expect from it.

Ideal contributors: Local authorities, charities, parents and young people.

Following these evidence sessions, a report and recommendations will be drafted for submission to the Labour Party’s National Policy Forum, where they will then go forward for discussion at Annual Conference in the Autumn.

Conclusions reached will also form the basis of how Labour responds to future legislation and policies brought forward by the Government.

How to get involved

1. Attend a session

If you are interested in attending or speaking to any of the above evidence sessions, please e-mail stating:

- who you are representing (if not as an individual),

- which session(s) you would like to attend,

- and giving a brief outline of the points you want to make.

The review is particularly keen to hear from children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents or carers on their first-hand experiences of getting the support they need.

2. Send us your stories and ideas

If you do not wish or are not able to attend any of the sessions, you can still get involved by submitting your thoughts on, and experiences of, the SEN system  in the same way.

Important notes

Ideally, requests to attend should be made at least 5 working days in advance of the date of the session, although allowances will be made if the session is undersubscribed; however, presenters will be finalised by said cut-off of 5 working days.

The capacity for each session is 50 people, with a maximum of 8 being invited to give a short presentation – following presentations, the floor will be opened to everyone else.

Where sessions are over-subscribed, every effort will be made to ensure as broad a range of attendees as possible, and confirmation of your place will be provided as soon as possible.

Sessions will be presided over by the Chair of the review panel or, if a division is called, another member thereof.  As time in the sessions is limited, it is requested that attendees give consideration to other attendees in the length of their contribution, and in not interrupting other contributions.

The Committee Corridor is wheelchair-accessible, and a limited amount of parking is available for those with disabilities - by prior arrangement.  Please state in your e-mail if you have any special requirements, and every effort will be made to cater for them.

All submissions will be retained and used as a basis for the final report.

Discussions and presentations at the evidence sessions are on the record – detailed notes will be taken, and you and any organisation you represent may be quoted in the final report and supporting documents, unless you specifically request otherwise.  Similarly, any submissions received will be regarded as eligible for publication unless you explicitly state otherwise.

The closing date for submissions is March 31st. Applications and emails should preferably be typed and submitted by email, but they may also be posted to the following address if you do not have access to a computer:

SEN Policy Review

c/o Sharon Hodgson MP

House of Commons

London SW1A 0AA

Any questions or clarifications can be sought by email at the address given, or by phone on 020 7219 0266.

Tania Tirraoro

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