While we’re still working on written analyses of the Department for Education’s now-landed “SEND Improvement Plan”, we wanted to bring you something that you could participate in and ask your own questions.
So… we’ve gathered together some eminent SEND voices who’ve digested the plan and who will be joining us for a live webinar on Wednesday 15th March, 7:30pm-9pm.
We have a fantastic line-up of Public law barrister, Steve Broach, SEND specialist lawyer, Hayley Mason, our very own expert analyst and SEND parent, Matt Keer, and SEND Researcher and parent, Sharon Smith. They’ll join Tania and Renata to detail, discuss and dissect the Department for Education plan.
While we already know there will be no immediate legislative changes, so the law stays the same, the plan contains some big (and expensive) ideas that ultimately may, or may not improve SEND provision. As we explained in our post last week, there is a golden thread through the plan that aims to reduce the number of EHCPs, but insufficient detail how it will do this lawfully. It talks about accountability, but does the plan have the capacity to hold local authorities and other public bodies to the law?
Join us to find out!
How will it work?
The webinar and round table will be on Zoom, introduced by Renata and Tania. We’ll start with a brief five-minute overview of the plan, and then we’ll get reaction from our guests before answering questions. Remember, this isn’t a chance to ask about your individual child’s situation as our lawyers won’t be able to give legal advice. But if you want to hear about whether the plan was worth the wait, this is the place to be.
This event is free to attend, but if you can afford to make a small donation to support our work, we’d really appreciate it. If you register but can’t make it, do let us know— there will be a recording we will publish on the SNJ site. However, if you have a burning question, you can only ask it if you attend the live event.
Register here: https://bit.ly/SNJplanRT
Donate here: https://bit.ly/SNJRTdonate
If you want to submit a question in advance, please email it to us
About our panel:
Steve Broach, Public Law Barrister at 39 Essex Street Chambers
Steve is a Barrister in public law. He has particular interest and expertise in health, education and social care, with a focus on disability and children’s rights cases. Steve's background is in policy and campaigning work with and for disabled children and adults and their families. Many of his cases involve the intersection between law, policy and politics.
Hayley Mason, Director / Senior solicitor SEN Legal Ltd
Hayley is a specialist Solicitor and director at SEN Legal, an education and disability law firm with a national client base. Principally based in Suffolk but often travelling nationally, Hayley has a vast range of expertise and has represented many hundreds of parents with children/young persons with special educational needs to obtain fundamental special educational provision for them.
Matt Keer, Special Needs Jungle Columnist and SEND funding expert
Matt Keer is father to two profoundly deaf young men. He has over 20 years of experience grappling with the SEND system as a parent, and he’s seen the best and the worst that the SEND system offers. Matt specialises in SEND stats, data analysis, and in-depth investigations of policies.
Matt has given evidence to several Parliamentary Select Committee inquiries, and his articles for SNJ on SEND funding, local government policy, and the SENDIST Tribunal have been quoted in Select Committee inquiry reports and national media.
Sharon Smith (SEND Researcher / Phd student & parent, SNJ columnist @SEN Policy Research Forum)
Sharon Smith is a parent of a young lady who has Down syndrome. She is also a doctoral researcher at the University of Birmingham, undertaking research with parents of disabled children. Her research interests include risk/vulnerability, belonging, co-production, inclusion and philosophy of education. She is a member of the SEN Policy Research Forum lead group.
And of course, your SNJ hosts, Tania Tirraoro and Renata Blower
Renata Blower, Co-Director @Special Needs Jungle Ltd
Renata is parent of three young people with complex needs and is also a foster carer. As well as SNJ, Renata is a board member of Hertfordshire’s Parent Carer Forum and sits on a variety of steering groups including the coordinated care of rare diseases (CONCORD) study funded by the National Institute for Health Research, community and public health strategies, delivering coordinated care and strategic planning for SEND. She also sits on various advisory committees for children’s charities.
Tania Tirraoro, Founder, Co-Director, Special Needs Jungle Ltd
Tania is the parent of two young autistic adults and a hands-on grandma of two. Tania, who is also autistic, is a leading SEND advisor, working with the Special Education Consortium, Ofsted, and Whole School SEND among others.
Tania is an experienced journalist & author and runs a small media consultancy, SocialOro Media. Tania is a rare disease & chronic pain patient advocate with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Before you join for the webinar, you may want to read our initial overview article and Matt’s upcoming look at accountability and funding for the plan. However, everything will be explained on the night. We’re also planning a webinar with the Minister, Claire Coutinho - watch this space!
What about now?
In a couple of days’ time, we’ll be publishing a podcast we’ve just recorded with Steve Broach about what’s the current law in SEND and how to respond to unlawful behaviour by public bodies. Please sign up for new post alerts at the top of the page so you don’t miss it!
- The Government’s SEND Improvement Plan: an initial overview
- A response to our letter to Ministers about the SEND Review
- Serially flawed, frequently unlawful: DfE-ordered SEND “Rapid Improvements” still barely visible in England’s biggest council
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