Since April 2021, children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have received an impressive £280 million investment for supportive provisions, as announced by the UK government. This investment was likely provoked by the increasing need for the re-evaluation (and refunding) of the national system in place for children and young people with SEND.

As long ago as 2018, over 222,000 children with SEND had their care reviewed in detail, and new EHC (Education, Health and Care) plans were instated.

Without doubt, three main challenges have long plagued the national SEND system. Often, there are poor outcomes for children and young people with SEND, navigating the SEND system — as a child or family member — has proven to be a negative experience more often than not. What’s more, unprecedented investment (such as the recent £280 million) doesn’t always mean value for money is being delivered through the SEND system.

Fortunately, at this moment, we can expect the UK government to strengthen the national system further for the benefit of our children and young people. There are aims to enhance excellent provision from early years to adulthood, with prompt access to specialist support, quality specialist placements where needed, and improved preparation for adulthood for young people with SEND.

Ultimately, the government’s new national vision is about timely, high-quality support, with children and our youth remaining in education as an essential part of this stronger national system. Whenever there is a barrier to learning, help will be instated so this barrier can be overcome. Mainstream schools will also benefit, with options for self-regulation classes or one-to-one support for students with SEND who require it.

Importantly, oversight for children and young people with SEND will also be improved. More often than not, needs are overlooked until they escalate, for a variety of reasons — sometimes structural, sometimes because teachers and other professionals adjacent to the child are untrained and without the right knowledge to support.

Unfortunately, this usually leads to children and young people moving from school to school, until they finally find the support they need. This movement is poorly regulated, extremely complicated and (more often than not) unnecessary.

The government hopes to move away from the unruly movement of children and young people with SEND between schools, for the betterment of their mental health and wellbeing. Instead, any decisions regarding the child will be made in their best interest, under existing good practice regulations and without the tumult of unregulated, unmanaged moves.

Every child and young person deserves valuable enrichment, fun and enjoyment in their lives. Whether that’s through a high-tech toy such as ride on cars, or more support in their studies at home and at school. Looking towards a stronger national system for children and youth with SEND is promising, and we hope that this improvement will continue in the long term.