Parents and professionals have largely welcomed the government's green paper on special educational needs (SEN) provision, but concerns remain and further improvements need to be made to services and systems, research has found.

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) found that the government's proposals for early identification, a single assessment process and greater parental engagement were particularly welcomed by parents and professionals alike. But concerns about other planned reforms in the green paper were also highlighted in the research. Particular concerns included the single category of SEN, the exercise of parental choice of school, and accountability for services provided by the voluntary and community sector. The research comprised 3 pieces for the Local Government Group on provision for young people with SEN and learners with learning difficulties and disabilities (LLDD). The projects focused on:

  • Local authority perceptions of how young people and their families will be affected by the green paper proposals
  • Parents' and young people's views on residential education
  • Transition of young people with SEN/LLDD to adult life and services.

Other findings from the research included a claim that certain aspects of the current system are in urgent need of improvement, including reducing the stress of the residential placement process on parents, and better support for young people with SEN/LLDD in transition to adult life.

The research also reported a clear need for service and system improvement to provide appropriate and timely support for young people with SEN/LLDD and their families, while recognising the challenge of providing excellent services within limited resources. For further information go to: www.nfer.ac.uk/research/projects/proposed-reforms-sen-disabilities/