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SEND Green Paper: AoC response

29 March 2022

Association of Colleges, the national voice for England's college sector, has responded to the government's long-awaited SEND Green Paper announcement.

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges said:

"There is no point in building a bridge three-quarters of the way across a river, if you want to properly help people to get to their next destination – but that’s what today’s SEND Green Paper does. There are lots of positives in the Green Paper, including the ambition to apply coherent standards to alternative provision, local inclusion plans overseen by DFE, and banded price tariffs for high needs. However, it is contradictory to give so little emphasis to colleges since the aim of the reforms is to create a system that serves young people all the way through to age 25, from childhood to adulthood.

The Green Paper does clearly focus on students with the highest needs in colleges but not on those whose needs are real but less pronounced. Many students with ECHPs progress to their local college, where they are brilliantly supported into independence and often into work. This Green Paper has some potential to improve the way this works and how funding is fairly and properly allocated. What it doesn’t do though is address the funding for students with needs, but not high needs.

The Green Paper proposals need strengthening by specific proposals for new accountabilities which should include Department for Education measures to improve transitions to adult social care, and access to therapies and specialist services, without waiting for change in other departments. Colleges are a lifeline for students with SEND, many of whom may have struggled at school but thrive in a college environment. We will work with our college members to ensure that this consultation brings more light to these issues because colleges are vital partners for students with SEND, whatever their needs, as they progress on their pathway to adult life."