Commissioning a SEND review

How to organise a special educational needs and disability (SEND) review to improve services and strategy.

Applies to England

A SEND review looks at how your education setting provides for pupils or students with special educational needs and disabilities.

The review findings will help you improve your SEND provision and strategy so you can help young people to achieve good outcomes.

When you should commission a review

SEND reviews are useful any time you want to reflect on SEND provision and explore different approaches to raising pupil or student outcomes.

For example, if pupils or students with special educational needs are not making expected progress, the fresh perspective and recommendations of an experienced SEND reviewer may help.

How to commission a SEND review

You can commission SEND reviewers in your education setting, local area, or from a commercial organisation which offers this service.

You can find experts:

  • in your own teaching school alliance or one close to you
  • in another local network of schools and colleges
  • by contacting organisations that provide school improvement support, such as members of the Whole School SEND consortium
  • through recommendations from your local authority or school improvement consultants in your region

You should ask prospective reviewers to provide evidence of having improved the outcomes for SEND pupils in education settings they have led or supported closely.

The SEND review process

A free guide on how to conduct a SEND review has been developed for DfE by London Leadership Strategy.

Schools can arrange their own review. Reviews also work well using peer-to-peer support across schools as part of the broader school improvement strategy.

You should confirm what you have agreed with the reviewer in a document outlining the roles, responsibilities and output of the review.

If your setting is maintained by a local authority, you’ll need to follow any procedures that the authority usually requires when you issue contracts for services.

The review is likely to take 1 to 2 days to complete, including time to prepare for the review and give feedback on the outcomes.

After the review

You should update your strategy for improving the outcomes for children or young people with SEND based on the review findings.

The headteacher, senior management or governors should be involved and the final version must be agreed by your governing body or trustees.

Any changes to the strategy should feed into the School Information Report and, where relevant, the wider local offer.

Cost of SEND reviews

There is no set cost for a review. It is up to you to approach a system leader and negotiate an appropriate amount. As a guide, day rates should reflect pay and expenses for a senior leader or headteacher, including the costs incurred by their school to release them. A typical day rate for a system leader is around £300-£500. The review will probably take between 1 and 2 working days.

Further information

Download the free SEND review guide developed for DfE.

Go to the Nasen SEND Gateway website for free resources including:

  • a SEND reflection framework for teachers
  • a teaching assistant deployment review guide
  • a guide on preparing for adulthood

These resources can be edited to suit your own requirements.

Published 29 March 2018