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Has the Better Futures Campaign (BFC) had any input into the SEN White paper?

What are the Better Futures Campaign (BFC) recommending in the SEN White Paper?

Why does the Better Futures Campaign (BFC) believe that it is important for ADHD to be recognised in the SEN White paper?

What are the cost implications for the recommendations that the Better Futures Campaign (BFC) are putting forward?


Has the Better Futures Campaign (BFC) had any input into the SEN White paper?

Yes. As a group we aim to improve the identification of ADHD in school-age children with a view to establishing a positive path forward for them. We therefore provided evidence at stage one of the green paper as to why ADHD should be a consideration for SEN, highlighting our recommendation that in all who receive two fixed term exclusions from school, ADHD is considered and, if appropriate, an assessment process is initiated. We then provided further evidence once the green paper was put out for consultation.

What are the Better Futures Campaign (BFC) recommending in the SEN White Paper?

The Better Futures Campaign (BFC) recommends that in all children who receive two fixed term exclusions from school, ADHD is considered and, if appropriate, an assessment process for ADHD is initiated. We see this as a two phased approach:

Phase one: That all children who receive two fixed-term exclusions from school be screened promptly for ADHD by a teacher or SENCO using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) (www.SDQinfo.org).

Phase two: Where screening is positive, the child should be assessed by a specialist psychiatrist, paediatrician or other appropriately qualified healthcare professional with training and expertise in the diagnosis of ADHD using standard criteria and rating scales. Where ADHD is diagnosed, they should be offered appropriate management and support.

Why does the Better Futures Campaign (BFC) believe that it is important for ADHD to be recognised in the SEN White paper?

The Better Futures Campaign (BFC) is committed to one particular goal: to help drive better access to the diagnosis, support and management of ADHD to build better futures for children with the condition. We believe that ADHD is currently under-diagnosed and under-treated. 35

Exclusion is the first event that can label a child 'a problem'. Many children will be temporarily excluded from school once for poor behaviour and will be suitably chastened by the experience. However, children with untreated developmental problems like ADHD cannot properly moderate their behaviour without the right support, so they are likely to be excluded more than once. This is an indicator of underlying behavioural problems.

We recommend that in all children who receive two fixed-term exclusions from school, ADHD is considered and, if appropriate, an assessment process for ADHD is initiated.

What are the cost implications for the recommendations that the Better Futures Campaign (BFC) are putting forward?

Overall, screening for a condition such as ADHD before it becomes a bigger problem is a relatively quick and cheap process. According to NICE, ADHD is associated with significant financial and emotional cost to the healthcare system, education services, carers and families and society as a whole. Providing effective intervention could improve the quality of life of individuals with ADHD, their carer’s and their families, while reducing the financial implications and psychological burden of ADHD to society.

Specifically when looking at schools, it costs around £4,000 per annum to teach a child in a mainstream school and £15,000 per child per annum in a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), where most permanently excluded pupils are educated. 36

There is a clear economic as well as moral case to conduct more thorough early intervention, so pupils can access the right support before they reach the point of permanent exclusion. 36