The Department for Education has produced its evaluation of the
SEN and Disability Pathfinder programme.
The research report presents the findings from an assessment of
local areas' (both pathfinders and non-pathfinders) readiness to
meet the forthcoming special educational needs and disability
reforms. The paper also provides an review of the initial
effectiveness of the pathfinder champions.
Key findings of the report show that pathfinder areas were more
advanced in their developments relative to non-pathfinder areas,
and had made progress across the majority of the elements of the
reforms between February and October 2013. This had resulted in
most pathfinder areas reporting that they had either developed or
were in the process of developing most of the requirements.
Conversely, although non-pathfinder areas had also continued to
make progress, a large proportion of this group still have to begin
working on a number of key elements, which raises a risk around
them completing all the relevant requirements by September
Progress against most of the reform elements were further advanced
within SEN than in social care and particularly health. This is
likely to reflect the primarily SEN-based nature of the reforms, an
initial lack of capacity to engage or clarity on how to contribute
on the part of health and social care practitioners, along with
some uncertainty around the extent to which the reforms would
result in more efficient and effective processes.
By October-December 2013, a good level of progress had been made
in developing certain aspects of the reforms, including the
Education, Health and Care (EHC) coordinated assessment and
planning pathway, EHC plan templates, the local offer, and
governance of the coordinated assessment and EHC plans. However,
the following elements remained at an earlier developmental stage:
eligibility criteria for the EHC plan; joint commissioning
arrangements between the local authority and partner Clinical
Commissioning Groups (CCGs); joint resourcing arrangements;
personal budgets - particularly in relation to SEN and health; and
Also referenced within the paper is take-up of alternative
support from pathfinder and non-pathfinder sites which cites In
Control as being the greatest source of alternative provision.
The full paper can be downloaded at