Parents will be given more powers to control the support that children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) receive, the Government has said.

The proposals put forward would see parents given their own "personal budgets" - currently the favoured method of giving assistance to people who receive social care support - as well as a possible reduction in the number of children deemed to have a special educational need.

This is set out in the government's formal response to the public consultation on its Green Paper, Support and Aspiration.

The move to personal budgets would see parents given the power to choose the expert support for children with severe, profound or multiple health and learning disabilities.

The reforms are billed as the biggest to the SEN system for 30 years, and will force education, health and social care to plan services together by law.

Children's Minister Sarah Teather said: "The current system is outdated and not fit for purpose. Thousands of families have had to battle for months, even years, with different agencies to get the specialist care their children need. It is unacceptable they are forced to go from pillar to post-facing agonising delays and bureaucracy to get support, therapy and equipment.

"These reforms will put parents in charge. We trust parents to do the right thing for their own child because they know what is best.  The right to a personal budget will give them real choice and control of care, instead of councils and health services dictating how they get support.

"It is a huge step forward to require health, education and care services work together. The reforms will give parents better information and a comprehensive package of support that meets their needs."

Although the changes to the SEN system have been broadly welcomed, Christine Burke, Senior Development Manager at the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities warned that agencies must work together if the new model was to succeed. She said: "Joint working between education, children's services, health and social care services (and subsequently adult services) does not always work well. These changes will require a new and radical approach if we are to make sure that this situation changes and offer real support to families and young people to be able to use their budget positively."

Story posted by Robert Mair on 15 may 2012