Reforms for youngsters with special needs

From left, Paul Stanley, Jo Crisp, George Heasman, Mercedes Bevan, Luke Galea and Bethany Bevan from Highbury College

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LOCAL authorities have welcomed a major overhaul of the support given to young people with special needs.

The South East 7 group of county councils, which includes Hampshire and West Sussex – say the reforms will give families greater control and choice over the care their children receive.

The area covered by SE7 serves 1.3m children including more than 24,000 with special educational needs.

Many of the reforms were tested and developed by the SE7 Pathfinder group, following a successful bid to the government for Pathfinder status.

The Children and Families Bill will see a replacement of the Statements of Special Educational Needs with a single assessment and single Education, Health and Care Plan, from birth to 25.

Families will be offered personal budgets so they have more control over the support they need;

And co-operation between all services will be improved so local authorities and health authorities work more closely to support children.