Sen policy Options Group

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SEN Policy Options Group

Taking stock: integrated children’s services, improvement and inclusion
Policy Paper 1

6th Series

September 2006



Chapter 1 Introduction to Policy Paper - page 3

Chapter 2 Desperately Seeking Solutions: What is an effective Children’s Service?  - page 7 

Margaret Doran - Assistant Director Universal Services and School Improvement, Southend  

Chapter 3 Will Mrs Thatcher Have Her Way? Future Options for Children’s Services – page 21

Tony Dessent - Corporate Director Children and Learning, Luton

Chapter 4                       What are children’s trusts? Issues in the policy framework for commissioning

and providing children’s services in England – page 29

Professor Chris Husbands, UEA Pathfinder Children’s Trust evaluation team

Chapter 5 Summary of discussion and conclusions – page 33

(September 2006

Chapter 1:          

Introduction to Policy Paper

Background to the policy paper

This paper is based on the seminar held at Regents College, Regents Park, London in May 2006 which focussed on the topic of children’s services: Taking Stock: integrated Children’s Services, Improvement and Inclusion. This seminar offered the opportunity to examine issues arising from policy formation at local / sub-regional level (including Scottish experiences), learning points arising from new practice structures and operation and newly developing inter-professional relationships. As with previous seminars the aim was to identify implications for the SEN Policy and Practice at national and local government level. The seminar involved brief presentations based on 3 papers that are included in this policy paper, from Margaret Doran, then Assistant Director Universal Services and School Improvement, Southend Local Authority, (now at Glascow Local Authority), Tony Dessent (Corporate Director Children and Learning, Luton) and Professor Chris Husbands, of the UEA Pathfinder Children’s Trust evaluation team. Most of the afternoon involved small group and large group discussions, from which some of the conclusions are recorded in the last chapter of this paper.

 SEN Policy Options Steering Group

This policy paper was the first in the 6th series of seminars and conferences to be organised by the SEN Policy Options Steering Group.  This group organised the initial ESRC - Cadbury Trust series on policy options for special educational needs in the early 1990s. The success of the first series led to the second one which was supported financially by NASEN. (See the list of these 23 policy papers published by NASEN at the end of this section). The Steering Group has representatives from LEA administrators, head teachers, voluntary organisations, professional associations, universities and research. The further success of the second and third series of policy seminars and papers led to a fourth and fifth round of seminars which has also been organised with further funding from NASEN. These events are intended to consider current and future policy issues in the field in a pro-active way. They are planned to interest all those concerned with policy matters in special educational needs.

 Aims for the next 6th series over a 2 year period from 2006-2008:

  1. To continue to provide a forum where education policy relevant to the interests of children and young people with SEN/disabilities can be appraised critically and pro-actively in the context of the development of children’s services.

  2. To inform and influence policy formulation and implementation, to encourage and support an active and ongoing dialogue on SEN policy and practice between key stakeholders such as NASEN and other professional associations; schools, local authorities, parents and other agencies

  3. To examine and evaluate policy options in terms of current and possible developments and research in order to inform and influence policy formulation and implementation in the field.

  4. To organise events where policy-makers, professionals, parents, voluntary associations and academics/researchers analyse and debate significant issues in the field drawing on policy and practice in the countries of the UK, and:

  5. To arrange the dissemination of the proceedings and outcomes through publication and summary briefing papers.


Steering group membership

The current membership of the SEN Policy Options Steering Group are:

Keith Bovair, Head teacher; Professor Julie Dockrell, Institute of Education; Professor Alan Dyson, School of Education, University of Manchester; Peter Gray, SEN Policy Adviser; Dr Seamus Hegarty, Claire Lazarus, DfES; Professor Geoff Lindsay, Warwick University; Professor Ingrid Lunt, University of Oxford; John Moore, Senior Inspector, Kent LEA; Professor Brahm Norwich, School of Education, Exeter University; Linda Redford, NCH Action for Children, Education Officer; Penny Richardson, Educational Consultant; Philippa Russell, CDC, Adviser DfES ;Sonia Sharp, Assistant Director, Rotherham LA; Philippa Stobbs CDC; Susan Twemlow, Notts. CC; Eileen Visser, Ofsted; Professor Klaus Wedell, Institute of Education, London University; Tom Williams EPS, East Ayrshire. 

Current series

The current series aims to organise four full or half-day events on special education policy and provision over the two years 2006-2008 which are relevant to the context of considerable changes in the education system.

If you have any ideas about possible topics or would like to know more about the events, please do contact a member of the Group or Brahm Norwich, Co-ordinator of Steering Group, at the School of Education, University of Exeter, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU (01392 264805; email:


Policy Options Papers from first seminar series published and available from NASEN.

 1.       Bucking the market

Peter Housden, Chief Education Officer, Nottinghamshire LEA

 2.       Towards effective schools for all

Mel Ainscow, Cambridge University Institute of Education

 3.       Teacher education for special educational needs

Professor Peter Mittler, Manchester University

 4.       Resourcing for SEN

Jennifer Evans and Ingrid Lunt, Institute of Education, London University

5.       Special schools and their alternatives

Max Hunt, Director of Education, Stockport LEA

6.          Meeting SEN: options for partnership between health, education and social services

Tony Dessent, Senior Assistant Director, Nottinghamshire LEA

7.       SEN in the 1990s: users' perspectives

Micheline Mason, Robina Mallet, Colin Low and Philippa Russell

Policy Options Papers from second seminar series published and available from NASEN.

8. Independence and dependence?  Responsibilities for SEN in the Unitary and County Authorities

Roy Atkinson, Michael Peters, Derek Jones, Simon Gardner and Phillipa Russell

9. Inclusion or exclusion: Educational Policy and Practice for Children and Young People with Emo    tional and Behavioural Difficulties

John Bangs, Peter Gray and Greg Richardson

9. Baseline Assessment and SEN

Geoff Lindsay, Max Hunt, Sheila Wolfendale, Peter Tymms

10. Future policy for SEN : Response to the Green Paper

Brahm Norwich, Ann Lewis, John Moore, Harry Daniels

Policy Options Papers from third seminar series published and available from NASEN.

11. Rethinking support for more inclusive education

Peter Gray, Clive Danks, Rik Boxer, Barbara Burke, Geoff Frank, Ruth Newbury and Joan Baxter

12. Developments in additional resource allocation to promote greater inclusion

John Moore, Cor Meijer, Klaus Wedell, Paul Croll and Diane Moses.

13. Early years and SEN

Professor Sheila Wolfendale and Philippa Russell

14. Specialist Teaching for SEN and inclusion

Annie Grant, Ann Lewis and Brahm Norwich

Policy Options Papers from fourth seminar series published and available from NASEN.


15. The equity dilemma: allocating resources for special educational needs

Richard Humphries, Sonia Sharpe, David Ruebain, Philippa Russell and Mike Ellis

16. Standards and effectiveness in special educational needs: questioning conceptual orthodoxy

Richard Byers, Seamus Hegarty and Carol Fitz Gibbon

17. Disability, disadvantage, inclusion and social inclusion

Professor Alan Dyson and Sandra Morrison

18.  Rethinking the 14-19 curriculum: SEN perspectives and implications

Dr Lesley Dee, Christopher Robertson, Professor Geoff Lindsay, Ann Gross, and

Keith Bovair.

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