A response to "Five ways to improve 'dysfunctional' SEND system" - please read this article first.
1. First of all, those non-committal inverted commas in the title. At some point we need to accept that the system is dysfunctional. Here is one reason why (there are many more):
EHCPs are legal documents outlining the needs and provision needed for children with SEND. They are written within different templates in different local authorities and some LAs have illegal frameworks as a barrier to a child even getting one (such as requiring Educational Psychologist reports prior to a child even being considered for an EHCP). Sencos are required to review them each year in partnership with the child and carer to make sure they are still relevant and up-to-date. Some schools don't actually have trained Sencos and many Sencos become Sencos overnight so do not know what they are doing. And then they have to send the review paperwork to the LA to make sure it is ok. Oh yes - the LA officer - the LA officer is responsible for making sure this whole process is done properly but they are not normally there at the review (because they don't have time). So, after the meeting, the paperwork is sent in to the LA officer for approval and hopefully, often rarely, the updated document is sent back to the school in a timely fashion.
P.S. Most teachers who teach the child never actually lay eyes on the EHCP. If you are lucky, there is a fierce and strategic Senco who makes sure things happen properly but definitely not always.
As I say, I think it is time to take away the inverted commas.
2. "Introduce SEND training for teachers, not only in initial teacher training, but also during early career development": there isn't any in most initial teacher training - at least of any substance that I can tell. Most NQTs I speak to have never heard of the SEND Code of Practice, they have rarely met a Senco and have a very thin (I'm being generous) understanding of their responsibilities for learners with SEND - as outlined both in teaching standards and in the Code of Practice. I'd love to hear from NQTs who would like to challenge me on this one. But trust me, this isn't a criticism of you - you have been let down. And two to three years down the road is too late. Try telling a parent of a child with an EHCP that unfortunately their child is being taught by an early career teacher and therefore, sorry, normal service will be resumed next year.
3. EHCPs, and the assessment process for EHCPs should of course be standardised.... if anyone would like to talk to me about 'SEND without borders' (just think!) then contact me as this is obviously what we should be working towards. SEND provision is still in the archaic position of being defined (controlled, provided for?) by which local authority a child lives in (or the LA of which school they are in if they are not an EHCP child, just a 'SEND Support, K-coder' .... I know - if you're lost by this point, see Point 1.)
4. e-PEPs* - if Virtual Schools** can do it then there is absolutely nothing stopping e-EHCPs (apart from the un-pronouncability).
5. LAs are not really the answer are they as we have a diverse education landscape. See number 3 - SEND without borders, you heard it here first.
*e-PEPs - these are online records that are kept for children who are in care. They start when the child goes into care and are kept throughout the time they are in care. If a child moves to a different local authority, the e-PEP still stays the same and is overseen by the original local authority which is not without its complications but it at least allows for continuity and is accessible in a normal, 21st Century way.
** A Virtual School is the the support school for children in care. They are virtual in that they are a kind of meta-layer to the school system. Obviously the child goes to a bricks and mortar school but there is this extra net of support provided by the virtual school in the local authority who provides support and has oversight of the e-PEP and attached funding.