Friday, 24 September 2010

England: invitation to a charade

Government 'consults' on special educational needs and disability
All to be submitted, analysed and published 'by the autumn'

I have only just picked up that Her Majesty's Government is undertaking a consultation about 'special educational needs and disability' in England. This first went out on 10 September so the scattered world of English Conductive Education may already be well on its way to making its own several or concerted responses.

The present Government has inherited from its predecessor mechanisms for dealing with public consultation in a truly industrial manner. You can see this particular example – and if you wish participate – at:


Here in summary are the highlights of this document –

Introduction
...wellbeing and achievement of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, as well as the support for their families... meeting people who know a lot about what is and isn't working … particularly keen to hear about areas or examples where things are working well...

Why A Green Paper?
...like all children - unique gifts and their own particular contribution to make to society... amongst the most vulnerable members of society... failed by the services designed to help them... current economic climate difficult decisions... most effective use of recent substantial investment... work together, with the available resources and expertise... some parents feel they don't have sufficient choice or confidence in the schools their children attend or the services they receive... can feel they need to battle the system to get the support their child needs

Guiding principles
  • greater transparency... child is to be supported...
  • involvement of parents in decision-making... partners in the system...
  • effective use of limited resources...  best value from investment...
  • less bureaucracy... professionals to spend more time with children and families...
  • high expectations of participation in society and the economy...
  • more local solutions... best use of staff and specialist resources...

Priorities
  • better educational outcomes and life chances...
  • better early intervention to prevent problems...
  • greater choice for parents…
  • needs of the family and child in the round...
  • streamlining assessment...

How you can help us now
  • want to hear from anyone... opportunity to influence our future direction...

Questions (these are only a guide)
  • statutory frameworks... what changes could help? …
  • identify children's special educational needs earlier...
  • support they need as quickly as possible…
  • improve the processes ...so that professionals can spend more of their time with children and their families...
  • high expectations... develop the skills for employment...
  • improve the choices of schools and services... parents... to be involved in decisions that affect their family...
  • improve the transition from school to adult life for young people with special educational needs and disabilities and the support provided for their families throughout…
  • ideas and examples of what's working well... Summary: 150 words...or... Examples:150 words...

The feedback from this call for views will be used to inform the content of the full Green Paper to be published in the Autumn

The closing date for responses is 15 October.

The last day of Autumn, by the way, when everything will have been done and dusted, is 20 December, so it will be all over by Christmas.

Summarised in my own words...

...this would run something as follows:
  • The Government appears to consider itself somehow to own children and their childhoods and be the primary agent in society to direct these, though it does say that it likes the idea of the children's parents acting as 'partners' in this. The government knows that it has a problem over services that it provides and there are serious charges being made that require some sort of response. It is about to sort out the education of certain undefined groups, to whom it will offer 'support', also undefined. It has no real idea what it might do and would welcome any bright ideas, but intends to go forward within the limits of present resources, both financial and intellectual. There is no such thing as pedagogy (not at least to the degree or relevance to make it worth mentioning here). Solutions will be managed top-down, with outcomes defined instrumentally, particularly in financial terms. What happens next will occur within existing paradigms and, given the time scale and the nature if the consultation document, the substance of what happens next is likely already worked out, hoi polloi being invited to offer some nice soundbite-sized quotations to embellish the forthcoming Green Paper. Job done.

Have I missed or misrepresented anything?

And I was daft enough to think of a Royal Commission!
 
By the way, I did notice the notion of professionals' spending more time with children and families', possibly just careless drafting, possibly a hint of the scale of public-sector cutbacks soon to be announced!

3 comments:

  1. Nevertheless, willy-nilly, we must work only with what is there.

    Two links (both from The Times Educational Supplement) which readers might like to follow up:

    1) Sir Robert Balchin says in June that the review is set to be the most significant since Warnock 30 years ago
    2) The Minister (Sarah Teather) says legislation may be necessary and urges parents to respond to the consultation

    ReplyDelete
  2. Blooger removed the URLs.

    I'll try again:
    First
    www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6048537
    Second
    www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6058169

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Norman, I have posted further on this at:

    http://www.conductive-world.info/2010/09/willy-nilly-into-future.html

    Abplogies to keen blog watchers... I have a backlog of comments to reply to, all thought-provoking like Norman's. They will probably all appear as postings, like this one has.

    Andrew.

    ReplyDelete