Wednesday, 10 September 2014


What they?

The Department of Heath and the Department for Education have just jointly published a brief guide explaining the duties and responsibilities of health professionals who deal with children and young people with 'special educational needs and disabilities' and their families:

This whole document is relevant to everyone concerned with Conductive Education for everyone up to the age of twenty-five. A particular passage [comments interpolated] might appear surprising  

Health in schools and colleges
Maintained schools [that means 'state schools'] must make arrangements to support [I do not know what this word means] children with medical conditions and have regard to statutory guidance on this. Health professionals have a role to play in supporting [?] staff in identifying and planning for SEN and disabilities in schools and colleges and in supporting [again] those with medical conditions.

Health professionals, schools, colleges and LAs [local authorities] should work together to ensure there are clear paths for identifying and supporting children and young people with SEN or disabilities, both with and without EHC plans.

        (from page 16)

Dreadful jargon, specifying little when it comes to concrete action. It is badly written and, as it continues, it is hard to know what it is talking about at all when it gets to what for many families of children and young people might prove the nub of the problem: achieving an appropriate service within the education system  
School nurses and appropriate college support staff [who they?] will play a role in identifying additional health needs, in liaison with other professionals. Depending on regional working arrangements, health professionals may be commissioned in a variety of ways to advise on identification of SEN and to provide effective support and interventions. These can be universal or specialist.
Services may include, but are not limited to:
•    educational psychologists [educational psychologists are not 'health professions' and do not work for the Health Service]
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
•  specialist teachers or support services with mandatory qualifications to support:
children with hearing or vision impairment
children with a multi-sensory impairment
children with a physical disability
Unanswered questions

Is it entirely clear from this guidance who are these 'specialist teachers or support services' who may (or may not) be 'commissioned in a number ways... according to local arrangements' and what are these 'mandatory requirements'?

There are very long-established mandatory requirements for training teachers two specialise in impairments of vision and hearing. There is no analogous training for teachers working with motor disorders.

The DfE may or may not have plans to rectify this unjust situation (though there has certainly been no public hint of this, and no public campaign to change things). Pending such an improbable change the window remains open to resume the long, hard struggle to commission services of kinds not included here, at local discretion. 

Local providers deserve better than this. More importantly, so do our citizens.


Department of Health and Department for Education (2014) 0 to 25 SEND code of practice: a guide for health professionals. Advice for clinical commissioning groups, health professionals and local authorities, London, DoH and DfE, September

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