News story

Views sought ahead of review into residential special education

Call for evidence launches to seek views on the experience and outcomes for children in residential special schools and colleges.


A call for evidence has today (23 January 2017) been launched to seek views on the educational experiences and outcomes for some of the country’s most vulnerable children.

Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson has asked Dame Christine Lenehan to conduct an independent review looking at the outcomes and experiences of children and young people attending residential special schools and colleges.

The review is designed to find practical outcomes for the government and other agencies who work with this group of young people, who often have the most complex needs and require more intensive support.

It will look at the characteristics of this group, how and why they are placed in residential special schools and colleges, the support that’s available to them during and after their placement and the ways in which families say their experience of these settings could be improved.

To ensure that the review is informed by a wide range of views and evidence from the sector, Dame Christine has launched a call for evidence and is asking for contributions from people working in residential settings, students attending these residential schools and colleges, their parents or carers, and children, young people and adults who have now left these settings. Councils, academics and other sector groups are also encouraged to take part.

Director of the Council for Disabled Children since 2003, Dame Christine will be supported in the review by Mark Geraghty, chief executive of the Seashell Trust, which runs an outstanding residential special school and college for children and young people with complex needs.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Every child, no matter the obstacles they face, should have the same opportunities for success as any other. This independent review will look at how the experiences of children and young people attending residential special schools and college can be improved, to ensure the right support is in place.

We are grateful to Dame Christine Lenehan and to Mark Geraghty for conducting this review. Together they bring a wealth of experience from across the education and social care spectrum.

Notes to editors

The call for evidence runs until March 17. The review will report back to the government later this year.

Published 23 January 2017