We were recently very proud to welcome Annamarie Hassall MBE, Chief Executive of Nasen, to our SEND in Schools Conference where she presented an overview of the current state and future directions of the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and the Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan. With so many aspects of our education system under pressure, but especially those supporting children with SEND needs, it is so important that all education professionals understand the key elements of the AP Improvement Plan, what the key recommendations are for schools, and what resources are available to support its implementation. Below is an overview of her presentation to delegates.

NASEN’s Mission and Role 

Nasen, an organisation with over 87,000 members, focuses on professional development for those involved in SEND education, including schools, SENCOs, teaching assistants, and local authorities. The organisation also includes parents who are increasingly opting for home education or blended learning approaches. Nasen’s mission is to remove financial barriers to accessing high-quality materials and practices, thus offering free membership to ensure wide dissemination. 

The SEND Improvement Plan 

The SEND review has transitioned into an improvement plan aimed at addressing the key issues in the current system. The primary goals are to fulfil children’s potential and secure parental trust in the system, which many feel is under-resourced and ineffective. Financial sustainability is also a critical objective, as there is a need to understand the true cost of delivering an effective SEND system. 

Key Components of the Improvement Plan 

  1. National Standards: The plan aims to create a consistent national system to eliminate regional disparities. This involves setting national standards to ensure equitable provision across the country. 
  1. Transitions into Adulthood: The plan emphasises the importance of early years support, aiming to build relationships and aspirations from a young age. Improvements to the Disabled Students’ Allowance are also highlighted to facilitate higher education for students with SEND. 
  1. Workforce and Leadership: Increasing the number of specialists, such as educational psychologists, and enhancing initial teacher training to ensure every teacher can support SEND students are key commitments. Additionally, ongoing training for early years SENCOs and strategic utilisation of teaching assistants are prioritised. 
  1. Accountability and Financial Clarity: Strengthening accountability measures, including local and national inclusion dashboards, will help create a more transparent and financially sustainable system. 

Immediate Actions for Schools 

While the improvement plan sets a long-term direction, immediate actions in schools are necessary. These include: 

  • Ensuring equitable provision for SEND students as part of Ofsted’s inspection framework. 
  • Emphasising high aspirations, respect for individuality, and dignity for all students. 
  • Using data effectively to plan in-house training and continuous professional development (CPD). 
  • Focusing on quality teaching and learning, and strong collaboration with families to build trust and confidence. 

Available Resources 

NASEN offers several resources to support educators, including a SEND review tool available for download, which focuses on teaching quality and family collaboration. The DfE-funded workforce program provides a teacher handbook and other CPD resources, precious for both teachers and teaching assistants. The Universal SEND Services programme, formerly Whole School SEND, offers extensive CPD opportunities with a focus on further education and autism. 

The SEND and AP improvement plan sets out an ambitious path towards a more consistent, effective, and sustainable system. By focusing on national standards, early intervention, workforce development, and accountability, the plan aims to address current deficiencies and build a robust framework for the future. Education professionals are encouraged to engage with the resources and initiatives provided by Nasen to enhance their practice and support the successful implementation of these improvements. 

For more detailed information and access to resources, visit Nasen

Join us at The Neurodiversity in Schools Conference to hear the latest updates on policy and guidance for supporting neurodivergent pupils in schools. You will hear a series of best practice case studies from schools and experts across a range of topics, including providing personalised learning plans for neurodivergent pupils, co-production strategies and creating more accessible learning environments. You will also have the opportunity to network with senior colleagues from across the sector to learn innovative ideas.

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We were very proud to welcome Anna Marie Hassell, Chief Executive of NASEN, to our SEND in Schools Conference, where she presented an overview of the current state and future directions of the Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and the Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan.

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