Who would have thought that we could look back fondly to the years when Tony Blair was prime minister as a Golden Age? In the years 1997 to 2007, the sun always shone and public spending grew and indices of child poverty and inequality in society fell.
Even after sunset and in the afterglow of Gordon Brown’s administration progressive steps were taken, which ultimately led to the reforms under the Coalition government which are now embodied in the 2014 Act, the Regulations and Code of Practice.
The origins of the current system, can be traced to the Lamb Inquiry, the report of which can be found here: Lamb Inquiry Special Educational Needs and Parental Confidence. It is interesting to note the emphasis on parental confidence: I wonder how many parents today have confidence in the current system, provision of which takes place against a pattern of constraints in public expenditure.
The response of the government of the day, was to be found initially in an exchange of letters between the minister Ed Balls Letter to Brian Lamb 16.12.09 (whatever happened to Ed Balls?) and Brian Lamb Brian Lamb Letter to Ed Balls 16.12.09.
More substantively, and subsequently, a Green Paper was published Support and Aspiration Green Paper which preceded the ultimate legislative changes. Is the new system an improvement on the old? As Chou En Lai (possibly) said when asked of the effect and influence of the French Revolution: it is too early to tell. Not least because of the expansion of Tribunal jurisdiction this month to encompass in a half hearted way, matters of social care and health care provision.
This month also sees the final switch from statements to plans, and scuttlebutt indicates that there could be an upsurge of appeals later this year in consequence, if in order to meet the deadline, plans that are put in place on a rushed basis are partial or unsatisfactory in content. A copy of the government’s vision for the change can be found here: Special Educational Needs and Disability managing the September 2014 changes to the system.