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Children and Families Bill 2012-13
14 February 2013
This is a Bill to make provision about children, families, and people with special educational needs and also to make provision about the right to request flexible working; and for connected purposes.
In connection with this Bill we have produced the following documents:
Disability Rights UK welcomes proposals to reform the current system of Special Educational Needs (SEN) statements and Learning Difficulty Assessments (LDAs). The proposals have the potential to improve coordination between the multiple agencies involved in supporting disabled people and to help smooth transition into post 16 education and training.
We also welcome the recent Select Committee scrutiny of the Government’s proposals which made some valuable recommendations for improvement.
Disability Rights UK is led, run and controlled by disabled people. We have particular expertise in the area of supporting young people into post 16 education and training gained from incorporating some of services previously delivered by Skill: National Bureau for Disabled Students. This includes providing the only dedicated pan-disability disabled students’ helpline covering all aspects of post-sixteen education and training. This gives us a distinct perspective on this legislation based on the experience of disabled learners.
We are concerned that the discussion to date has not adequately reflected the needs of this group of disabled people. Instead it has been dominated by those working with or supporting children who have a critical contribution to make, but the voice of disabled learners in the post-16 sector should also be heard.
The majority of children with a statement of Special Educational Needs are disabled and will continue to need support once they leave school and as they become young adults. The reform of the system must address the needs of the whole age range. It should be based on the principles of promoting the social model of disability, supporting greater independence and reinforcing the equality and human rights of disabled people.