Press release

Special educational needs and disabilities green paper pathfinders

20 pathfinders will test the main proposals in the special educational needs and disabilities green paper.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government has announced today (21 September 2011) that 20 pathfinders, covering 31 local authorities and their primary care trust (PCT) partners, will test out the main proposals in the SEN and disabilities green paper.

The consultation on the SEN and disabilities green paper received 2,378 responses - 26 per cent were from parents and parents’ organisations.

Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather, said:

We’re proposing the biggest reforms in 30 years to help disabled children and those with special educational needs so we need to make sure we get them right. It’s good to see that the overall response from parents, teachers and professionals is supportive of our vision for change.

There are some interesting responses that will help us shape future policy decisions. For example, we can see that people think there should be a greater emphasis on meeting particular needs that emerge in school, just as much as identifying development problems in the early years.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the pathfinders progress over the next few months to test out how we can make our proposed changes a reality.

The pathfinders will all test some core elements of reform, including:

  • a single education, health and care plan from birth to 25 years old, focusing on whether outcomes for disabled children and their parents have been improved
  • personal budgets for parents of disabled children and those with SEN so they can choose which services best suit the needs of their children
  • strong partnership between all local services and agencies working together to help disabled children and those with SEN
  • improved commissioning, particularly through links to health reforms
  • the role of voluntary and community sector organisations and parents in a new system
  • the cost of reform.

Pathfinders will also test some optional elements, including:

  • whether a national funding framework would help parents understand what level of funding is available to support their child’s needs
  • better support to help parents through the process
  • support to vulnerable children through the new process
  • and the impact of reforms on children aged 16 to 25, or children in the early years.

The pathfinders will receive up to £150,000 per local authority per year.

Notes to editors

  1. The pathfinder programme has been commissioned by the DfE and the Department for Health. The programme will be fully evaluated.

  2. List of pathfinder areas:

South East:
SE (Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Medway, Surrey, West Sussex)

South West:
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Bromley and Bexley

East of England:

East and West Midlands:
Northamptonshire and Leicestershire
Nottingham County Council

North West:

North East:
Hartlepool and Darlington

Yorkshire and Humber:
North Yorkshire

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk - for journalists 020 7783 8300

General enquiries - for members of the public 0370 000 2288


Published 21 September 2011