About Us

Rationale and orientation

This Forum contributes intelligent analysis and use knowledge and experience to promote the development of policy and practice for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Forum is concerned with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from pre-school to post 16 (0-25 years). It will cover the whole of the UK and aim to:
1.    provide timely policy review and critique,
2.    promote debate,
3.    set longer term agendas – acting like a think-tank,.
4.    deliberate over and examine policy options in the field.
5.    inform research and development work in the field.
6.    establish robust routes to media outlets.

The Forum recognises the uncertainties over what counts as 'special educational needs' and 'disabilities' in relation to a wider concept of 'additional needs'. These will be among the many issues examined through the Forum.

The Forum is very grateful to:


Background and origin of Forum

The establishment of the Forum builds on over almost 20 years of work and experience by the SEN Policy Options Group since the early 1990s. This Group organised an ESRC - Cadbury Trust series on policy options for special educational needs. The success of the series led to further seminars supported financially by the NASEN, the leading UK professional organisation in this field.

The Group, whose membership includes academics, researchers, policy makers, officers, and professionals, has published 30 policy papers arising from these seminars. The Forum plans to continue with the seminars and policy papers, while extending its range of activities which is especially appropriate in the current policy context.

Lead Group

The Forum has a Lead group:

Dr Peter Gray - Policy Consultant (co-coordinator)

Professor Brahm Norwich - University of Exeter (co-coordinator)

Yolande Burgess, Young People's Education and Skills, London Councils

Professor Julie Dockrell - Institute of Education, University of London

Niki Elliott - Sheffield Hallam University / Special Education Consortium 

Brain Lamb - Policy consultant

Professor Geoff Lindsay - University of Warwick

Deborah Orton - Head of Integrated Services for Learning, Hertfordshire Local Authority

Nick Peacey - 1st Director of SENJIT, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Liz Pellicano - Institute of Education, University of London

Linda Redford - Policy Consultant

Penny Richardson - Policy Consultant

Chris Robertson - University of Birmingahm

Professor Klaus Wedell - Institute of Education, University of London

Pears Foundation