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UK General Election: Can Relationships with Professionals in Mainstream Education Be Improved? Insights from Parent Carers of Children with Learning Disabilities

3 July 2024

Can Relationships with Professionals in Mainstream Education Be Improved? Insights from Parent Carers of Children with Learning Disabilities Emma Foley, BA, MA, MBACP.   Introduction As debates about the inadequacies of SEND provision and funding continue, especially in the wake of a general election, this blog focuses on an important aspect: the relationships between parent […]

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UK General Election: What an analysis of the party manifestos says about SEN/disability and inclusion?

27 June 2024

What an analysis of the party manifestos says about SEN/disability and inclusion? by Professor Brahm Norwich   This blog discusses from a SEN/disability and inclusive education perspective the Education Policy Institute / Nuffield Foundation’s manifesto analysis by Jon Andrews, Shruti Khandekar, and Robbie Cruikshanks – General Election 2024 An analysis of manifesto plans for education. […]

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UK General Election: How to fix a broken system – Starting points for an equitable and inclusive education system in England under a new government.

23 June 2024

How to fix a broken system: Starting points for an equitable and inclusive education system in England under a new government. Francesca Peruzzo, Research Fellow in Education Policy and Equity Education Equity Initiative – University of Birmingham   With elections approaching, in this blog post I suggest three starting points for the new government to […]

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UK General Election: Election manifestos have ignored post-16 SEND

23 June 2024

Election manifestos have ignored post-16 SEND David Holloway Senior Policy Manager – SEND, Association of Colleges The manifestos published by UK political parties in June 2024 were unanimous about one thing: special education needs and disabilities (SEND) policy is all about schools. The Conservatives and Reform UK promise more special free schools, or that they […]

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Fair funding for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability in England?

14 June 2024

Fair funding for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability in England? School funding formulas have been applied across a number of countries for at least the last 50 years. A national funding formula (NFF) was introduced in England in 2018 with the aim to provide a platform for fair funding across the country. The English […]

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UK General Election: Could a new government mark the end a decade of disruption and dysfunction in SEND?

6 June 2024

Could a new government mark the end a decade of disruption and dysfunction in SEND? Rob Webster In England, SEND policy has tended to be written in the idiom of what the sociologist, Sally Tomlinson, calls ‘benevolent humanitarianism’. The words may be warm and well-meaning, but they mask, often unsuccessfully, understrength and incomplete strategies, which […]

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Blog series: UK General Election

5 June 2024

We would like to invite you to contribute research informed blog posts relating to the forthcoming UK General Election, taking place on 4 July 2024. The SEND system is in crisis. The Government has responded by putting in place the SEND & AP Improvement plan, currently being tested in nine different Change Programme Partnerships, one […]

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National policy framework for SEND and inclusion

28 May 2024

National policy framework for SEND and inclusion   Many commentators are currently arguing that SEND policy is in crisis. This is in spite of the reforms that were supposed to improve children’s and families’ experience of the system, and in which so much time and effort was invested in the early years of the Coalition […]

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SEN Policy Lead Group membership changes

11 March 2024

  Julie Dockrell, who was a long-standing member of the SEN Policy Research Forum Lead Group, has decided time has come to stand down from the role. We would like to thank her for her contributions to the Forum and wish her well in her future endeavours. We are delighted to announce that Susana Castro […]

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Update re SEN Policy Research Forum co-ordination – and a huge thank you to Brahm Norwich

20 December 2023

As some of you may know, Brahm Norwich has decided to step down as co-coordinator of the Forum, which he originally set up over 30 years ago with Klaus Wedell.   Brahm has been fundamental to the development of the Forum and has played a substantial part in organising our policy seminars, collating speaker write-ups […]

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UPDATE Enhancing Public Dialogue about Inclusion in School Education: a Citizens’ Panel Pilot

8 October 2023

Enhancing Public Dialogue about Inclusion in School Education: a Citizens’ Panel Pilot (UKRI-RSA Rethinking Public Dialogue Programme) Brahm Norwich and Rob Webster Public dialogue gives members of the public opportunities to learn about and debate important issues in a safe and respectful space. The discussions produce practical recommendations to share with the people that make […]

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Response to Thomas et al (2023) The increasing use of private special schools: A policy gap for inclusive education.

21 September 2023

By Peter Imray This short response paper concentrates specifically on children, young people and adults (CYPA) with complex learning disabilities (CLD), a fairly new ‘category’ of LD marking those who are on the severe end of severe learning disabilities. The ‘label’ itself does not carry any special significance, other than being an indication of the […]

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What is the consequence of more children being sent to private special schools?

25 August 2023

What is the consequence of more children being sent to private special schools? Gary Thomas, University of Birmingham There have been large increases in the number of children sent to non-maintained special schools in recent years. To assess the extent of this trend and its probable consequences, I and my colleagues sent Freedom of Information […]

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The Children and Families Act 2014; are we expecting too much of it?

9 June 2023

The Children and Families Act 2014; are we expecting too much of it?  Carol Long The Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014) was hailed as landmark legislation aimed at improving services for vulnerable children and supporting families no matter what their background. Eight years on the effectiveness of the legislation continues to be debated. […]

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Why are the arguments that every student should be taught how to read are utopian and totally unhelpful? The case of learners with severe and profound learning disabilities.

25 April 2023

by Dr. Lila Kossyvaki, University of Birmingham, a.kossyvaki@bham.ac.uk   In January 2022, DfE published The reading framework: Teaching the foundations of literacy in which it was stated that Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) (p. 56): ‘provide children with moderate to severe and complex needs the best opportunity to gain functional literacy’. The document also argues that […]

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Are virtual/on line assessments now the norm?

22 January 2023

Are virtual/on line assessments now the norm? Liz Malcolm, Director PSI(UK) The use of virtual assessments by educational psychologists appears to be on the increase. This may be for several different reasons. The strategic leads for SEND and Inclusion of the Eastern Region Local Authorities in England have commissioned a focused piece of work about […]

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UKRI – RSA Public Dialogue project update: Enhancing Public Dialogue About Inclusion in School Education: involving young people with special educational needs

17 December 2022

Enhancing Public Dialogue About Inclusion in School Education: involving young people with special educational needs Organisations: University of Exeter. University of Portsmouth Partners: SEN Policy Research Forum, Sortition Foundation, Involve Background information: This public dialogue project asks how English schools can be made more inclusive for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities […]

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Klaus Wedell

26 October 2022

Klaus Wedell We are very sad to let you know Klaus died last week. Some of you knew him or knew of him. The idea of the SEN Policy Research Forum was his in the early 1990s. He was very keen on stakeholders talking about policy and practice in the field of special needs education […]

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Enhancing the participation of young people with SEN/D in public dialogue about inclusion in school education: a citizen jury pilot.

20 September 2022

UKRI-RSA Rethinking Public Dialogue pilot projects: Enhancing the participation of young people with SEN/D in public dialogue about inclusion in school education: a citizen jury pilot. This innovative pilot will focus on the inclusive engagement of young people (YP) with SEN/disabilities (SEND) in a Citizen Jury (CJ) process on the topic of a more inclusive […]

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SEND Green Paper/Review: Right support, right place, right time: Response from the lead group of the national SEN Policy Research Forum

29 July 2022

As well as providing a detailed response for each of the questions as set out in the government’s recent SEND Green Paper consultation, the SEN Policy Research Forum lead group also prepared an accompanying discussion paper, with further recommendations. These recommendations were informed by research and from a succession of our SEND policy seminars and […]

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‘Inclusion is not a place you commute to’. Why accountability measures must reflect inclusion’s relative dimension.

28 June 2022

‘Inclusion is not a place you commute to’. Why accountability measures must reflect inclusion’s relative dimension. Rob Webster Reader in Education & Director of the Education Research, Innovation and Consultancy Unit, University of Portsmouth There is a seemingly contradictory model of inclusion that seems prevalent in English mainstream schools. A longitudinal study I led with […]

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Our colleagues at the National Education Union are inviting contributions to a Blog series focusing on Ofsted

27 June 2022

Please see the message from Judy Ellerby below – if you would like to contribute, please contact Judy directly Judy.Ellerby@neu.org.uk The NEU launched our campaign to Replace Ofsted at our annual conference in April.  This term we are posting a series of blogs by experts across the field of education sharing their views on why […]

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SENPRF blog series SEND Green Paper: A new role for alternative provision – alternative provision schools or an integrated mainstream-facing alternative provision service?

20 May 2022

A new role for alternative provision: alternative provision schools or an integrated mainstream-facing alternative provision service? Peter Gray and Beate Hellawell Alternative provision used to describe mainly independent educational providers, commissioned at key stage 4 by local authorities (LAs) or schools and had a vocational focus. The term is now used more broadly to include […]

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SENPRF blog series SEND Green Paper: Response to posts from Peter Gray, and Julie Wharton & Christopher Robertson

25 April 2022

Klaus Wedell responds to recent SENPRF blog posts from Peter Gray and Julie Wharton & Christopher Robertson below. Julie, Christopher and Peter very pertinently query the way in which the ‘mainstream offer’ is presented in the White and Green Papers. I wonder whether the ‘confusion’ is actually a manifest indication of the lack of ‘coherence’ […]

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SENPRF blog series SEND Green Paper: What exactly is co-production and is it necessarily a good thing?

14 April 2022

What exactly is co-production? And is it necessarily a good thing for children, young people, and their families? by Sharon Smith ‘co-production with children, young people and families is a fundamental principle of the SEND system and enables children, young people, parents and carers to be valued partners in decision-making’ (SEND Review p28) ‘Children, young […]

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SENPRF blog series SEND Green Paper: Co-production and Parental Engagement

14 April 2022

The SEND Review, Co-production and Parental Engagement by Brian Lamb The SEND Review Right Support, Right Place, Right Time, is welcome in supporting the principles and benefits of co-production with parents. While many of its proposals leave the detail to be developed there are some very specific proposals, not all of which are likely to […]

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SENPRF blog series SEND Green Paper: Targeted Support and SEN Support – coherence or confusion?

11 April 2022

Quality and consistency of the mainstream offer (schools): Targeted Support and SEN Support – coherence or confusion?  (NB please note this blog post was updated 28 April 2022 to include information about the proposed national standards) Julie Wharton and Christopher Robertson   Targeted Support in mainstream In some respects, the White Paper (Opportunity for All: […]

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SENPRF blog series SEND Green Paper: National banding system – an end to the postcode lottery for parents and children with SEND?

6 April 2022

The Department for Education and Department for Health and Social Care have recently launched a new green paper and associated public consultation on their proposals for Special Educational Needs and Disability and Alternative Provision in England. See  ‘SEND review: right support, right place, right time’ for more information. The consultation closes on 1 July 2022. […]

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Blog submissions

22 February 2022

Contributions to the SEN Policy Research Forum blog are welcome!   Our aim for this blog is to publish thought-provoking, short-form pieces that are research-informed, accessible, and which find points of contact between research and policy in relation to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). We encourage discussion through comments on each blog post, or […]

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Blog guidelines

22 February 2022

Blog guidelines We welcome comments on SENPRF blog posts that either respond to questions raised or further the discussion. If you would like to respond with your own blog post (rather than a short comment) please follow our submission guidelines here. All comments on the SENPRF blog will be moderated before they are published. We […]

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New easier to access blog coming soon

31 January 2022

Our new updated blog is coming soon! Please check back in the very near future.

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