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Greenwich Parent Voice

Lenehan Review: your views needed

Dame Christine Lenehan’s Review into the care and treatment of children and young people with complex needs (and behaviour that challenges) involving mental health problems and learning disabilities and/ or autism has just been published. The full report can be found here http://bit.ly/2kj0XTs and on the Department of Health website here:


The review, called These Are Our Children, is calling for urgent action at a national level to prevent these children being institutionalised at an early age, at huge cost to the taxpayer and with low ambitions for improving their lives. The next step for the Department of Health is to look with other Government Departments, NHS England and external stakeholders at how they can take Christine’s conclusions and recommendations and use them to inform improvements for this group of children. She found, for example, "A lack of ownership or accountability across a fragmented system of care is depriving children of their right to an education, and community and family life."

“There’s a well-worn path for this group of disabled children, away from their home communities into long term placements that often act a last resort. Hidden and separated from the rest of society, these children become ‘special cases’, for whom the aspirations we have for other children and young people don’t apply. We urgently need a shift in thinking, so that ‘these’ children are recognised as ‘our’ children, as members of our communities with exactly the same rights to health and education, and family and community life.”

One parent said: “I’ve struggled to get £18,000 of care for my son in the community. I can’t get any more so he is moving to a placement costing £200,000. What happened to the middle?” There is something fundamentally wrong with a financial system that appears to reward crisis but disincentives early intervention."

In response to one of her recommendations, the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson has asked Dame Christine Lenehan to also conduct another independent review looking at the outcomes and experiences of children and young people attending residential special schools and colleges. She will be supported in the review by Mark Geraghty, chief executive of the Seashell Trust who sponsored and spoke at the NNPCF/CAF Parent Participation Conference In November 2016.

This review into residential special schools and colleges is designed to find practical outcomes for the government and other agencies who work with this group of young people, who often have the most complex needs and require more intensive support.

To ensure that the review is informed by a wide range of views and evidence from the sector, Dame Christine has launched a call for evidence and is asking for contributions from people working in residential settings, students attending these residential schools and colleges, their parents or carers, and others.

The call for evidence is available here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/special-educational-needs-and-disability-division/lenehan-review/

Actions for Parents and Carers

Parent carers whose children and young people are in residential special schools and colleges please respond to the call for evidence to Lenehan.Review@education.gov.uk by 17 March 2017. You should focus on answers to the following questions:

  • How did you find the process of getting a residential place?
    • Are you happy with your child's residential placement?
    • Are you supported to keep in touch with your child?
    • What outcomes would you like to see from this placement?

Please email Lenehan.Review@education.gov.uk with your response. Thank you