In a response to the SEN green paper, the government has stated that parents will get the right to personal budgets to pay for their children’s care.
It also plans to introduce legislation that will require education, health and social care services to jointly plan provision for children with additional needs via a new single assessment process and care plan for all children from birth to age 25, introduced from 2014.
Meanwhile all councils will be required to publish a details of support available to disabled children and those with SEN, while children are to receive a new right to be prioritised for places at state academies and free schools.
Children’s minister Sarah Teather said the current SEN system is “outdated and not fit for purpose”.
“Thousands of families have had to battle for months, even years, with different agencies to get the specialist care their children need,” she said.
“It is unacceptable they are forced to go from pillar to post – facing agonising delays and bureaucracy to get support, therapy and equipment.
“These reforms will put parents in charge. We trust parents to do the right thing for their own child because they know what is best.
“The right to a personal budget will give them real choice and control of care, instead of councils and health services dictating how they get support.”
Chris Keates, general secretary of the teaching union NASUWT, said, “Personal budgets may sound superficially attractive but are simply vouchers by any other name. They rightly will be seen by many parents as wholly irrelevant to their concerns.”