Press release

Children with special educational needs and disabilities: voluntary and community organisations to play a key role in helping

Voluntary and community organisations will help deliver key reforms to support children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, and their parents.

The Children’s Minister Sarah Teather today announced contracts involving voluntary and community organisations which will deliver the support, including the Council for Disabled Children and I CAN, the children’s communication charity.

The Department for Education is providing funding of around £6 million a year for two years to deliver the support.

The organisations will support the delivery of short breaks, provide greater information and help to parents, and help disabled young people and those with SEN prepare for employment, training and independent living after they leave school.

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:

We’re proposing some of the biggest reforms to special educational needs and to help disabled children and we’re testing out the best ways of doing this over the next year. But it’s important that children, young people and their families get help and support now, from organisations they trust.

That’s why we’re funding and extending programmes that have been successful so far and that parents have told us they value - like short breaks and helping young people make the often difficult transition from school to employment or training.

The successful contractors will provide knowledge and support on the delivery and improvement of local services and help the 20 SEN Green Paper pathfinder areas test some of the Government’s key reforms.

The organisations and contracts are:

  • The IMPACT consortium (SERCO in partnership with the Short Breaks Network): to help local authorities deliver their legal obligations to provide short breaks and involve parents in how short breaks are provided.
  • The Council for Disabled Children: to support local parent partnership services across England that provide parents with clear information about their rights and responsibilities under SEN legislation, along with local information about options and choices to meet their child’s SEN.
  • A consortium led by the National Development Team for Inclusion: to improve outcomes for young people with SEN and disabilities. The consortium will work with local authorities, schools, young people and their femployment, training and independent living after they leave school.
  • The ES Trust with the National Children’s Bureau: to extend the successful Early Support programme to improve the quality, consistency and coordination of services for disabled children over five years old (the programme is currently designed from birth to five years old) and help develop key worker training.
  • The Early Language Consortium, led by I CAN, the children’s communication charity: to introduce Early Language Development Training for people working with children up to five years old. The training amilies to raise aspirations in secondary school and plan for will focus on the importance of early language development to improve communication and language skills for all children, particularly those with SEN.

Notes for editors

  1. Details of the contracts are available on the Contracts Finder website.

  2. The contracts will run until 2013 initially with scope to extend for a further two years subject to agreement and satisfactory performance.

  3. The Government previously announced that:

    • Contact-a-Family, a charity providing advice and support for the parents of disabled children, won the contract to strengthen parents’ involvement in local decision making across the country. Contact-a-Family will carry through the commitments in the SEN and Disability Green Paper to give parents more control over the support their child and family needs, and to fund parent forums in every local area.
    • A consortium led by Young Minds, linking with six other national organisations with experience of children’s mental health, have been appointed to build the capacity of voluntary and community sector organisations (VCSOs) to deliver early intervention mental health support to children and young people. The consortiumwill work with around 2,000 schools, 500 VCSOs andmore than 100 commissioners from local authorities, NHS and education in identifying barriers and developing sustainable solutions.
    • Achievement for All programme, aschool improvement approachwhich has successfully improved rates of progress for pupils with SEN and disabled pupils, has beenawarded to a consortium of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and a new charity established by school leaders, Achievement for All (3As).

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