Joining the Dots: Driver Youth Trust report on SEND reforms

14th October 2015

We are delighted to announce the publication of our latest report Joining the Dots: Have recent reforms worked for those with SEND”, commissioned by the Driver Youth Trust.

The report will be launched launched in Parliament later today.

You can download the report here or browse it and read the press release below.


Press release: Children with special educational needs getting lost in the system
“Joining the Dots,” a report out today from charity Driver Youth Trust, commissioned from think and action-tank LKMco, explains how in some places reforms have led to chaos and confusion. Fragmented provision makes it hard for some families to access the support that they need.

In some places recent reforms have unleashed innovation. For example, at Plumcroft Primary School in Greenwich, Headteacher Richard Slade negotiated a deal with educational psychologists from Harley Street giving pupils access to top experts regardless of their family background. However, the wider picture is very much of mixed provision.

The government has introduced a so-called local offer which requires all local authorities to tell parents what support was available in the area, but analysis shows that these offers are often incomplete and largely useless.

Sarah Driver, Chair of Driver Youth Trust, said:

“as a parent of children who have struggled with dyslexia I am concerned that it is still so hard for some children to access the support that they need. However, it is heartening to hear from frontline teachers like Maria Constantinou from St Mary’s School in Barnet who are both developing great practice in the classroom and, through work with London Leadership Strategy, sharing what works with schools across the country.”

“We want the government to introduce an annual SEND award with a prize comparable to the £100 000 on offer for schools who excel in supporting children in receipt of pupil premium. Celebrating success and highlighting what is going well is a really important part of improving outcomes.”

“However among our recommendations we also call for the government to commission an independent review of how local authorities are delivering their statutory responsibilities for SEND in order to identify good practice and support weaker local authorities”

Lead author and LKMco Associate, Eleanor Bernardes reflected that:

 “Too often policy is made for the ‘average’ student and reforms are judged in terms of how they affect the majority. It has therefore been a privilege to spend time looking into how young people with special needs have been impacted upon over the last five years.”

“It became overwhelmingly clear over the course of this research that to look simply at SEN specific reforms misses the bigger picture of how unprecedented upheaval in the education sector as a whole has affected children and young people with special needs. It has been inspiring to see the remarkable ways many schools and sector organisations have responded and made the most of the opportunities available. We now call on policy makers and sector leaders to ensure that young people do not fall through the cracks in a worryingly fragmented system.”

The report is being launched at the House of Commons on 14 October and over the coming year Driver Youth Trust will be supporting a range of initiatives to take forward the report’s recommendations. This includes an expansion of their Drive for Literacy Programme which supports classroom teachers to help children struggling with literacy as well as a new forum that will bring together teachers, parents and SEND experts to share what works.


Notes to Editors

  • Driver Youth Trust is a charity dedicated to improving the life chances of children and young people who struggle with literacy particularly children with dyslexia
  • Sarah Driver is the Chair of Driver Youth Trust and established the charity with her husband Mark following their own family experiences of dyslexia
  • Joining the Dots was commissioned from education and youth ‘think and action-tank’ LKMco. LKMco is a social enterprise – we believe society has a duty to ensure children and young people receive the support they need in order to make a fulfilling transition to adulthood. We work towards this vision by helping education and youth organisations develop, evaluate and improve their work with young people. We then carry out academic and policy research and advocacy that is grounded in our experience.
  • Driver Youth Trust have developed Drive for Literacy – a programme for supporting class teachers to improve literacy outcomes and are funding support for a rollout in Peterborough and Hastings