Weekly political news round up – 14th March 2014

March 14, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Around the sector

The Children and Families Bill has now received Royal Assent and is now the Children and Families Act.

Department for Education publish paper outlining research needs for SEN and disability

The Department for Education has published a paper outlining research needs, priorities and questions regarding SEN and disability.  Although large parts of the paper summarise information that has already been published, such as the 2011 Green Paper on SEN and disability, the Department’s consultation on SEN and disability, and what the Government is doing in terms of the Children and Families Act 2014, the paper sets future research priorities.

The purpose of the paper is to develop a process of engagement with relevant stakeholders in examining and identifying longer term trends in the SEN and disability field, develop and promote effective evidence-based practice, as well as finding ways of making better use of existing information.

As such, the paper outlines a set of questions to be reviewed at regular intervals. These can be summarized below:

  • Measuring System Performance
    • How can innovative methods be used to measure the performance of the SEN system?
  • Identification
    • What methods in educations are being used to identify children with SEN? Does the method and process of identification make a difference to provision and outcomes?
    • Are there local variations in identifying and classifying SEN need and level? Why so?
    • What is driving the increase in identification of SEN at lower levels of provision?
  • What works: developing and evidence based sector
    • What approaches to teaching and learning have demonstrated a positive impact on educational attainment for particular groups with SEN
    • How does the approach to SEN and disability categorisation, identification and provision compare to other countries?
    • How can developments and new research in neuroscience be utilised to inform practice in assessing and supporting young people with SEN?
  • Wider education reform
    • What differences are there in the types of support provided in different types of schools? What impact do these differences have on the outcomes of children?
    • What approaches to assessment of achievement are most effective for children with SEN?
    • Are school funding reforms changing the support for children with Sen in different settings?
    • How are changes to teacher education impacting on the competence and capacity of the workforce in identifying and supporting children with SEN and disabilities?
  • Medical and long-term outlook
    • Has there been a cultural shift in the ways in which education, health and care professions work together with families following the SEN reforms?
    • How can a family focused approach be sustained over time?
    • What factors promote effective engagement with parents and young people at an individual and strategic level?
    • What factors encourage effective local partner organisation collaboration?
    • Are there effective ways of modelling the demography the SEN and disability population?
    • How are the reforms to the health service affecting the support being made available to children with SEN and disabilities?

The Department will be arranging a series of discussions throughout 2014 with practitioners, the research community and other stakeholder to discuss views and help shape departmental plans to filling evidence gaps. It has also asked stakeholders to respond to this document by sharing with them any existing research evidence or current work relevant to the above questions.

Education Select Committee recalls Children’s Minister Elizabeth Truss over “inadequate” response to children’s centre report

Children’s Minister Elizabeth Truss is being recalled to the Education Select Committee following an “inadequate” response by the Government to the Committee’s report on Sure Start children’s centres, published in December 2013.

The Committee’s report  set out recommendations for how early intervention should be encouraged, such as ensuring that more families have access to sure start centres and the appropriate training for the early years workforce and attracting high quality professionals. Committee Chair Graham Stuart was disappointed that the Government’s response failed to appropriately address the report’s specific recommendations; instead the Government stated off the importance of good quality childcare and the measures it has introduced. The Government mentioned the Early Intervention Fund, as well as its reforms to standards for the early years workforce, but did not acknowledge the Committee’s specific concerns around the closure of children centres and the consequential shrinking of the early years infrastructure and the impact this has on early intervention services.

Health Education England appoint new Director of Education and Quality

Health Education England (HEE) has announced that Professor Wendy Reid has been appointed as HEE’s Director of Education and Quality. Professor Reid, who was appointed as HEE’s Medical Director in November 2012, will be replacing Professor Chris Welsh, who announced that he would be retiring at the end of the month. It has not yet been announced who will replace Professor Reid as HEE’s Medical Director.

Professor Reid will be responsible for providing clinical leadership for Health Education England and ensuring high quality education and training for the health care workforce in England. She will also work to ensure that education and training reflects the needs of patients and community.

Commenting on her appointment, she said that HEE was “an organisation with such great potential to improve patient care”.