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The voice of specialist further education

Our policy priorities

Our policy priorities and recommendations – summary:

Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) should be able to access quality education and training which meets their individual needs and supports their aspirations for skills, work and life, enabling them to lead happy and fulfilled lives.

Natspec supports the ambitious intentions of the 2014 Children and Families Act, but has concerns that a poorly designed funding system and excessive bureaucracy are taking the focus away from meeting the needs of young people.

Our policy priorities and calls to action fall under four themes:

  1. Continuous Improvement to achieve high quality education in all settings, including a relentless focus on staff development and sharing of expertise.
  2. Effective communication with partner organisations, government departments, funding agencies and local authorities to develop a shared vision for specialist further education, listen to concerns, dispel myths and misperceptions and build productive relationships.
  3. Planning to create clear patterns of provision, which defines universal services for every local area, and the more specialist expertise that it is more efficient and effective to provide at regional or national level, investing in centres of expertise to support and train the wider workforce.
  4. Working with local authorities to achieve effective commissioning practices, including research with the LGA, lobbying to prevent poorly planned new provision, and working nationally with DfE to achieve more uniformity of contracting processes.

During the 2017 election campaign, we called on the future government to undertake post-legislative scrutiny of the Act via the Commons Education Committee to ensure that it is working for every young person with SEND aged 16-25. We were pleased that this call was recognised and in April 2018, the Education Committee opened an Inquiry into the SEND reforms, scrutinising how well the legislation has been implemented, with the report published in October 2019.

During the 2019 election campaign, we focused on three themes of quality, system change and post-college destinations.

We regularly respond to government consultations and review our policy priorities.

Our 2018 and 2019 policy priorities, together with our 2019 manifesto, can be downloaded from the box below.

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