In issue five of The SEND Practitioner, Gareth Morewood emphasised the fact that SENCOs should prepare themselves for the raft of legislative changes by really getting to know the law. However, at the time of writing (July 2014) the legislative changes were yet to come into effect. As a result, much commentary of the time was, by its very nature, circumspect.
Since then, five challenging months have elapsed in which SEND practitioners have begun to adapt to the new framework. And whilst aspects of the new framework are short on detail and require case law decisions to clarify the legal guidance that can be given, there has been some progress as the dust has begun to settle. However, it’s a long journey ahead and will take years, not months, to embed this cultural change.
With this challenge and the words of previous contributors to The SEND Practitioner echoing in my mind, I was thrilled when Mark Blois said that he would be happy to talk to me. I had seen Mark speak at a key SEN framework conference towards the end of last year and had been particularly struck by his calm, cogent and rigorous analysis of the legal landscape and his rare ability to communicate legal complexities with clarity and verve.
Before you read on, I should warn you that this is a tome of an issue, containing a decent selection of the reader questions that some of you have sent to me. Mark was kind enough to give me over an hour of his time and this Q&A is the distilled fruit of a very large interview transcript. However, ultimately, one should not cut corners with the law and it is in this legal spirit that I am really pleased to offer you Mark’s illuminating analysis.
I hope that you find a few moments in which to read it and, ultimately, I hope that you find it useful. As ever, please do get in touch if you have any comments, queries or suggestions.