Birmingham to improve education access for all

Council plan to provide fairer opportunities for children with special needs.

A plan to give children and young adults with special educational needs fairer opportunities has been launched.

The Special Educational Development Plan sets out how Birmingham City Council will work with children and their families, schools and partners, with a focus on special education provision.

It will focus on three key strands: the way in which special education provision is commissioned; safeguarding all young people by ensuring that everyone with special educational needs has access to sufficient education at early years, school and college level; and reducing youth unemployment and improving the life chances of young people with special educational needs by ensuring a smooth transition through education and into adulthood.

Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children and family services, said: “We should have the same aspirations for our children who have disabilities as we do for those who don’t – a fantastic childhood and the best preparation for the rest of their lives. Our draft strategy suggests how we plan to do just that.

“With all partners working more effectively together every child and young person will be able to participate fully and make smooth transitions through education and into adulthood.

“Historically we have set lower standards for our children with special educational needs; some children have been bussed miles away from their communities to be educated separately, and as a result miss out on many opportunities their peers get in their local communities. Of course there will always be some children with specialist needs who have to go a long distance, but the majority should be educated near where they live so they can travel independently and experience a sense or normality.

“The service must no longer be supplier-led, we must put children first.”

A new website will provide a single point of information dedicated to SEN and details of the Birmingham offer.

To support SEN a consultation on a new strategic framework was launched that has been developed in partnership with stakeholders. This is now out for an 8 week consultation with parents, carers, young people, children, schools and a wide range of stakeholders –