SEN Green Paper – what does it do for Academies?

UPDATE 3 SEPTEMBER 2012 – THIS IS NOW OVERTAKEN BY EVENTS – SEE THIS POST

On 15 May 2012, the Coalition Government published its long-awaited Response to the consultation on the SEN green paper. It makes wide ranging proposals about changes to the framework of Statements of SEN  most of which raise no particular issues for academies and parents of pupils who want their children to attend academies. But a couple of things are notable when it comes to academies.

The Green Paper proposed (among other things) that:

  • Parents will have a clear choice of school with equivalent rights to express a preference for any state-funded school, including Academies and Free Schools;

(the current position is explained here)

and

  • Disabled children and children with SEN will have the right to appeal to the Tribunal.

(the current position is explained here)

Following the consultation the Government now promises this:

“Under the change we propose parents will be able to express their preference for any state-funded school and have it considered by the local authority on the same basis. This change will extend the provision that already exists in law for parents to express a preference for any maintained school to Academies and special Academies, Free Schools and special Free Schools.”

So it sounds as though the provisions of paragraph 3(3) of Schedule 27 of the Education Act 1996 will be extended to apply to academies as well as maintained shools. That, of course, will be yet another example of statutory overriding of funding agreements – so it will add further confusion for anyone trying to understand the can of worms.

Bu there is nothing in the Response on ensuring that parents can appeal to the SENDIST against an academies refusal to consent to admitting a child with a statement of SEN. That is an issue of current controversy as explained here. Nor anything on the related question of forcing an academy to admit the child when it is nonetheless named by an LA or Tribunal as considered here.

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