£30 million government fund for new SEN champions

The government has announced a new £30 million fund for more than 1,800 special educational needs (SEN) champions to support families through the new SEN process which comes into place in September 2014.

Changes to the support available for children with SEN will include replacing SEN statements and learning disability assessments with new birth-to-25 Education, Health and Care Plans – which will set out all the support that families will receive in one place.

The £30 million will be used to recruit and train a pool of ‘independent supporters’ drawn from independent voluntary,community and private organisations.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said, “I know from speaking to many parents how much they value any support in helping them access the services their children need. Independent supporters will be able to spend one-to-one time with families giving them the independent help and advice they need to progress through the new SEN process.”

The new system will provide greater integration of vital services and one system for children and young people with SEN from birth to 25. The independent supporters will also be able to intervene between the council and the families regarding any disagreements regarding the support needed.

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) is responsible for ensuring that a range of organisations provide the independent help and the recruitment of around 12 independent supporters in each area.

Christine Lenehan, CDC Director, said, “Independent support will become a valuable resource to help and support parents of children with SEN and young people, parent partnership services and local authorities,as we all move towards implementing the reforms and local offer. We look forward to working with a wide range of private, voluntary a community sector partners as we develop proposals further.”

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