Monday, 14 December 2015


Woods and trees

Ed Timpson, the latest junior minister in charge of 'SEN' at the Department for Education, and officials from education and health, have met with representatives from various 'parent carer forums'. Amongst these was Tanya Tirraoro from Special Needs Jungle.Her report on the meeting was published last Thursday –
Mr Timpson wanted to do a 'stock check' on how the reforms to the special educational needs system in England had progressed in the past year since implementation. If he'd been hoping to get a big thumbs up from the parent carers present, he would have been disappointed...
The interesting thing was that no matter where in the country the parents were from, we all had similar experiences to report, from local authorities reinterpreting the SEND Code of Practice to their own advantage, a lack of facilities for young people over 16, a lack of training and a failure of culture change to take place inside LAs and health services, health services not taking part and problems encountered with SEND transport for 16 to 18 year olds...
Read the rest of her report at:

A group photo shows the Minister and some of the parents present (mainly mothers) smiling at the camera.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest

Coincidentally, last week saw another Minister, one more highly placed, in a quite different situation, where nobody was smiling at all:
The government is 'profoundly shocked' by a report which found the NHS failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 people, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said...
He offered a 'heartfelt apology' to families affected...
Mr Hunt described the findings of the report – which was commissioned by NHS England and carried out by Mazars, a large audit firm – as 'totally unacceptable'...
Southern Health is one of the country's largest mental health trusts, covering Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and providing services to about 45,000 people...
There is a full transcript of the proceedings in Hansard:

'SEN? Mental health?' No connection? Or a profound one?


(2015) House of Commons, Oral answers, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Hansard, cols. 1141-1150, 10 December

– (2015) NHS failure to probe deaths 'shocking' – Jeremy Hunt, BBC News, 10 December

Tirarro, T. (2015) What parent carers told the Minister at his SEND reform stock-taking session, Special Needs Jungle, 10 December

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