The Guardian view on special needs education: restore confidence in a failing system | Editorial

MPs have rightly criticised a poor set of reforms but have not come up with a solution for vulnerable children

Are England’s 1.3 million children with special educational needs and disabilities – which range from dyslexia through to severe medical conditions – being failed by the reforms introduced by the Conservative education secretary Michael Gove in 2014? In a long-awaited report, the Commons education select committee, chaired by the Tory MP, Robert Halfon, concludes in damning terms that they are.

In their report, the MPs say that “the 2014 reforms have resulted in confusion and, at times, unlawful practice, bureaucratic nightmares, buck-passing and a lack of accountability, strained resources and adversarial experiences”. The committee focused on the failure of the Department for Education (DfE), noting that it did not need to “preside serenely over chaos for five years” to see that things weren’t going to plan. Its inspection agencies, such as Ofsted, failed to make judgments about “unlawful actions” regarding special educational needs and disabilities (Send).

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