SEN Motions from NUT Conference 2014

SPECIAL EDUCATION AND INCLUSION    
MOTION 33

Conference  reiterates  its  policy  of  2011  of  supporting  inclusive  education  and  developing
disability equality in mainstream schools.

Conference  recognises  that  Part  3  of  the  Children  and  Families  Bill  (though  expanding  the
protection of a Statement through the Education Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) to 0-25 year
old children and young people), does not provide adequate safeguards for the large majority of
children and young people with special educational needs at the school/college based stage.

Conference is further concerned at the damaging impact and pace of change envisaged by the
government, in particular:

1.  The introduction from April 2014 of mandatory changes in school funding and the higher
needs block;

2.  The negative impact of these funding changes on both mainstream and special schools
additional  needs  block  and  Age  Weighted  Pupil  Unit,  that  will  lead  to  a  reduction  in
funding for special educational needs (SEN);

3.  The proposed change over from Statement to EHC plan of three years from September
2014;

4.  The exclusion of disabled children and young people without SEN from these changes;

5.  The increased statutory responsibility on Local Authorities at a time of reduction in Local
Authority budgets, in particular reductions in specialist and advisory teachers in SEN and
disability; and

6.  Proposals to phase out teaching assistants.

Conference  recognises  the  negative  impact  of  the  above  changes  on  the  inclusion  and
education of disabled children and young people and those with SEN.

Conference  therefore  instructs  the  Executive  to  enter  into  urgent  policy  discussions  with  the
Opposition  and  other  interested  parties  in  the  voluntary  sector,  trade  unions  and  parents’
organisations, to develop a strategy of damage limitation and to ensure alternative mechanisms
are developed to enable all children and young people with SEN to have their needs met and to
maximise  the  development  of  inclusive  practice  throughout  the  education  system.  Following
these  discussions  and  not  later  than  January  2015.  Conference  instructs  the  Executive  to
launch a public campaign to ensure this plan becomes a General Election issue. In  order  to  safeguard  the  provision  for  disabled  children  and  young  people  and  those  with
special  educational  needs  and  to  ensure  that  teachers’  workload  is  not  increased  in  meeting
these needs, Conference instructs the Executive to carry out the following:

i.  Produce  guidance  for  all  members  on  the  impacts  the  above  changes  will  have  on
students and staff;

ii.  Launch a publicity campaign on the impacts and the possible alternatives; and

iii.  Support  for  members  on  a  school-by-school  basis  and  across  Local  Authorities  in
balloting for sustained industrial action to protect existing provision, jobs and conditions.


In  order  to  safeguard  the  provision  for  disabled  children  and  young  people  and  those  with
special  educational  needs  and  to  ensure  that  teachers’  workload  is  not  increased  in  meeting
these needs, Conference instructs the Executive to carry out the following:

i.  Produce  guidance  for  all  members  on  the  impacts  the  above  changes  will  have  on
students and staff;

ii.  Launch a publicity campaign on the impacts and the possible alternatives; and

iii.  Support  for  members  on  a  school-by-school  basis  and  across  Local  Authorities  in
balloting for sustained industrial action to protect existing provision, jobs and conditions.


A LOTTERY IN SEN PROVISION – WHO WILL PAY THE PRICE?
MOTION 34
              

Conference condemns the introduction by Government, with unnecessary speed, a set of poorly
tested and ill planned SEN reforms under the guise of a promise to parents that provision for
children  and  young  people  with  SEN  will  improve  and  that  co-ordination  and  co-operation
between different children’s services  will be made easier.  

Conference notes that:

1.  analysis of free school admissions by the Union shows less inclusive pupil intakes;

2.  the availability of specialist advisory and support services to help teachers  identify and
meet the special educational needs of children is a postcode lottery with  pupil need far
outstripping the availability of services;

3.  Government  approaches  to  curriculum  development,  assessing  pupil  progress  and
assessing school teacher and performance take insufficient account of evidence about
child development, ranges of pupil ability and additional educational needs – this hinders
and frustrates inclusive practice, teaching and curriculum planning;

4.  The proposed new SEN Code of Practice makes the role of each agency far less clear
and  will  lead  to  a  situation  where  schools  are  expected  to  act  as  the  lead  agency  for
children  with  additional  needs  where  educational  need  is  not  the  reason  for  a  team
around the child; and

5.  Equity and appropriate child centred provision for children with special educational needs
is  put  at  risk  by    current  education  reforms,  which  stand  in  stark  contrast  to  former
approaches such as the ‘Every Child Matters’ policy.  
 
Conference instructs the Executive to:

i.  Commission research on the cumulative impact of the Government’s education “reforms”
on pupils with SEN in various settings;

ii.  Campaign to retain an appropriate role for teacher expertise and teachers’ professional
judgement in decisions about appropriate provision for a child and naming a school;

iii.  Ensure  the  “Year  of  the  Curriculum”  resources  produced  by  the  Union  support  and
empower teachers in all settings to develop the curriculum for pupils with SEN; iv.  Closely monitor the use, and impact of, personal budgets and direct payments to parents
of children with special needs for education provision.;

v.  Continue  to  campaign  in  defence  of  pupil  referral  units  and  to  demonstrate  the  pivotal
role for these schools in re-integrating individual pupils and offering behaviour support to
schools; and

vi.  Continue to campaign, through the Compass  Inquiry, for a middle tier in education to
ensure  collaboration  between-  and  shared  responsibility  across-  all  schools  in  a  local
area,  as the only way to ensure an education system which is equitable and accessible
for children and young people with special educational, additional or behavioural needs.

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