New rights for parents of deaf children

The Lamb inquiry into parental confidence in the special educational needs system pumped out two more interim reports on Monday. The first one was on the quality of statements of support for children with special educational needs. And it contained a recommendation that left some of my colleagues flabbergasted – a new right for parents to appeal if the statement for their child is not updated or modified to reflect changing need.

Lots of parents have told NDCS that statements seem to be set in stone once they are drafted. So a child moving to secondary school might still have the same statement they had when they had as a very young child. There are apparently examples of statements for older children saying that a child is not yet toilet trained. Children don’t stay the same forever, so why should statements? NDCS stressed this point in our formal submission to the Lamb inquiry.

Currently, statements should be annually reviewed and a parent can ask for an interim review. But the local authority doesn’t have to change the content of the statement unless the parent demands a re-assessment, a long and painful process for many parents to contemplate.

So the recommendation, which has already been accepted by the Government, is big news, which is likely to make a big difference. Another recommendation that guidance should be produced for local authorities on how to draft statements will also helpfully shake things up. Part of me still wonders whether more needs to be done to monitor and check the quality of statements but maybe that will come in the final Lamb inquiry report, due out in the autumn.

And I haven’t even started on the second interim report which had also offers the promise of more big changes for deaf children and Ofsted. Come back soon for more info on this…

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