The SEND Review Improvement Plan was published on 2 March, 2023. The Improvement Plan is a follow up on the SEND and AP Green Paper released earlier in 2022. This podcast is part 3 of our series about SEND and ‘inclusive education’, and it features a close examination of the Improvement Plan including both its strengths and weaknesses.

Margaret Mulholland on the SEND and AP Green Paper, parts 1 & 2

If you haven’t already tuned into parts 1 & 2 of the series, I recommend you have a listen to them first. In part 1 of this series, Margaret and I discussed the issues in the SEND system, and how well the green paper addressed them.  We also talked about the ‘perverse incentives’ built into that system. Finally, we touched on the inclusivity, and what it really means to make schools and classrooms ‘inclusive’.

Part 2 featured more about inclusivity and how to embed it into mainstream education. This meant tackling complex issues such as structural exclusion, conjoining Alternative Provision and SEND, and academisation. Alongside those systemic topics, Margaret wanted to stress the importance of better professional development.

What about the Improvement Plan?

So how well does the Improvement Plan meet the needs and challenges of the SEND and AP system? As Margaret put it, “The strategies articulated in the Improvement Plan don’t appear sufficient to deliver on the theory of change that was articulated in the Green Paper, even though that theory of change was the right one.”

The system needs an overall improvement of mainstream provision and an upskilling of the workforce, better access to specialist provision, greater consistency of identification of pupil needs, and strengthened accountability. The Improvement Plan makes some strides in the right direction, but overall appears to be too little too slow.

Listen here to hear Margaret’s expert insights on the Improvement Plan in full.

Listen to the full interview on HEP Talks

As always, we hope you enjoy listening to the full interview on HEP Talks, which can be found on AppleSpotifyGoogle, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

If you have a topic that you’re interested in or want to talk about on our podcast, please send me an email at and you might get featured on an upcoming episode. Stay tuned to HEP Talks!

About the Author:

Luke Kemper

Luke Kemper is Insight and Intelligence Lead at HEP. He recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Education, Globalisation and International Development. Before that, he worked for seven years as a university lecturer and high school teacher in China and Poland.

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The voice of Haringey Education Partnership. A weekly briefing on the latest stories in education news, deep diving into developments and interviews with leading voices in Education.

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