FOI release

Reform of the special educational needs (SEN) system

What research and sources of information were used to draft government policies on SEN which have been published in the last 2 years.



  • Date requested: 2 January 2013
  • Date responded: 22 January 2013


I would like to know what research and sources of information were used to draft government policies on special educational need which have been published in the last 2 years and which have been implemented in 2012 or are expected will be implemented in the next few years.


In developing SEN policy in the last 2 years we have drawn on publications listed in the bibliography to the SEND green paper ‘Support and aspiration: a new approach to special educational needs (2011)’, and also some of the materials listed in bibliographies to documents cited within the green paper.

Since the publication of the green paper there have been a number of other pieces of research that the department has published that are influencing decisions around the implementation of the reforms. These are:

‘Individual budgets for families with disabled children: final evaluation report’ – the initial period reported in 2011, are available online.

This was then followed by an extended year of evaluation.

The national evaluation of ‘Achievement for all national evaluation’ was published in 2011.

The evaluation of the impact of short breaks on families with disabled children over time. A number of reports are available including:

It would also be worth noting the Better communication research programme (BCRP), which was a 3 year programme of research around speech, language and communication needs and was published in December 2012.

The ‘Evaluation of the SEND pathfinder programme’ green paper and initial documents may also be of interest.

We are expecting a larger research report of the pathfinder evaluation to be published this in autumn 2013, concluding the first phase of the evaluation. This should be available online once published.

Published 16 September 2013