SEND Strategy Consultation

Closed 4 Jan 2019

Opened 30 Oct 2018


SEND strategy consultation

The county council is consulting on how to strengthen support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), at a time when the amount of funding available is not keeping pace with the growing levels of need, such as autism.

Although Surrey County Council spends more on SEND than other similar councils, too many children and young people with SEND and their families are disappointed with the support they receive.

This indicates a mis-match between how the council invests in SEND services and the expectations and outcomes for SEND families.

The council is consulting on a strategy to shift resources more towards early identification of children's and young people’s needs, and providing more early support closer to home and wherever possible in mainstream schools and settings.

That means fewer children will need to have statutory Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) to get the support they need, and with the right services in place locally they will not have to travel further distances or go to high-cost placements in independent schools and institutions (known as Non-Maintained Institutions).

The aim of the strategy is to improve outcomes for families and help raise the achievement of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities so that they can fulfil their potential.

Most children have their special educational needs met in Surrey maintained schools. There are approximately 200,000 pupils in total, and of these around 23,000 have special educational needs (SEN) support.

For further information, please refer to the SEND strategy document, which explains the approach in greater detail.

Families have told us that they have to wait a long time to access services and this can make things worse. They feel that problems are not identified early enough and that there is not enough support or provision for lower level needs and thresholds are too high. Families have said that they have to wait a long time to access services, which can lead to a lack of trust. Families have also said that they feel some providers are not knowledgeable about their needs and that they want to be engaged in the design and management of services that their children receive. Families also don’t feel they have a choice of provision and haven’t had a clear explanation about why decisions have been made.

Listening to their feedback, we are developing a strategy based on five key principles:

1. Children with special educational needs are identified earlier and supported in a timely and effective way in order to improve their outcomes and wellbeing.

2. There is an increased focus on earlier intervention and prevention to offer help and meet needs at the earliest opportunity, reducing the demand on high cost, high need interventions.

3. Children and young people are helped to become resilient and independent so that they can lead independent and fulfilling lives in their own communities.

4. The voices of our children, young people and families are heard so they can shape and inform how we work together to get the best results.

5. Surrey’s early years settings, schools, colleges and other providers are able to support children to live, learn and grow up locally and achieve their full potential.

Please read the SEND strategy document below and then Give Us Your Views by answering the questions.

If you require the survey in another format such as Easy Read or large print, please call us on 03456 009 009 or text 07860 053 465 (Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm)

Our consultation period runs from Tuesday 30 October until Friday 4 January 2019.

What happens next

We are grateful for the time people have taken to provide their feedback. It is being carefully reviewed and will help shape recommendations to be considered by Surrey County Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 29 January.

Please check the consultations page on our website for further updates after the meeting.


  • All Areas


  • All Surrey residents


  • Parents and families