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Teather unveils new council pathfinders

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The Department for Education has named 31 councils that will test out the aspects of the main proposals in the government’s special educational needs and disabilities green paper.

Among the ideas being road tested are the development of single birth-to-age 25 health and care plans; personal budgets for parents; cross-agency partnership working, and the potential for a national funding framework.

A total of 22 pathfinder programmes will be launched, each receiving up to £150,000 in funding, with the biggest dubbed SE7 – made up of Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex CC, Hampshire CC, Kent CC, Medway Council, Surrey CC, and West Sussex CC.

Children’s minister Sarah Teather (Lib Dem) said the pathfinders were designed to make sure the government got the biggest changes in special educational needs and disabilities for three decades right.

“We can see that people think there should be a greater emphasis on meeting particular needs that emerge in schools, just as much as identifying development problems in the early years,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the pathfinders progress over the next few months to test out how we can make our proposed changes a reality.”

Other areas the pilots will test are:

  • Better commissioning, “particularly through links to health reforms”;
  • The role of voluntary and community sector organisations and parents in a new system;
  • The cost of reform;
  • Better support to help parents through the process; and
  • Support to vulnerable children through the new process;

In addition to the SE7, the other pathfinders are: Southampton City Council; Devon CC; Cornwall Council and Council of the Isles of Scilly; Wiltshire Council; Greenwich LBC; Bromley and Bexley LBCs; Lewisham LBC; Hertfordshire CC; Northamptonshire and Leicestershire CCs; Nottingham; Solihull MBC; Trafford MBC; Oldham and Rochdale MBCs; Manchester City Council; Wigan MBC; Gateshead MBC; Hartlepool and Darlington BCs; Calderdale MBC; and North Yorkshire CC.

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