As pressure on local authority budgets has grown, issues around access to SEND services have become increasingly prevalent. More than 100 prominent SEND-related
organisations have launched a #SENDInTheSpecialists campaign aimed at boosting
investment for more specialist SEND practitioners, and the Local Government
Association has reported an increase in the number of legal disputes
and tribunal hearings around SEND provision. More than 9 in 10 decisions were in favour of families – overturning initial decisions made by councils.

The Nuffield Foundation is looking for research proposals that will help answer the following questions and contribute to the development of SEND systems in the UK that enable children and families to get the support they need – and are entitled to.  

Successful applications need to demonstrate methodological rigor and a route to impact on policy and practice.

  • How do schools and councils assess children’s SEND needs and make decisions regarding EHCPs?
  • What are the pathways through the system and what are the success rates at different stages?
  • What are the leading causes of disputes? How effective is mediation and what happens after families win an appeal?
  • Who has access to redress through the system? For example, are there inequalities where redress is dependent upon having strong financial and social resources?
  • What changes would make the biggest difference to children’s experiences and outcomes?
  • What are the consequences of failing to provide children with appropriate support in a timely manner?
  • What can we learn from comparisons between SEND systems, internationally or across the four UK nations?

Click here for more information.

If you have an idea that responds to these interests, apply here. The next deadline is 11 September 2023.

British Academy of Childhood Disability is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1177868
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