Commission set up to explore future of special needs provision in Newham

file photo of pupils walking

Newham has set up a special educational needs and disabilities commission. - Credit: David Jones/PA

A commission exploring the future of special educational needs and disabilities provision in Newham has been set up.

The council's special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) commission is to be independently chaired by Professor Geoff Lindsay.

It aims to ensure parents, carers, youngsters and bodies partnered with the local authority shape Newham’s SEND strategy for the next five years. 

Cllr Sarah Ruiz, cabinet member for education and children’s social care, said: "Education is key to unlocking opportunities for children and young people.

"That’s why we are determined to remove barriers to learning to ensure every child in Newham - including those with special educational needs and disabilities - can enjoy the best possible education.

"The launch of this new commission underlines this commitment and is key to tackling some of the issues that we recognise are currently facing the local area SEND partnership."

Cllr Ruiz added the commission will help lay the foundations to deliver "lasting" change, improved education, greater inclusion and better outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

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The commission launches on Thursday, May 20.

Prof Lindsay worked on special educational needs and educational psychology at the University of Warwick, as well as being director of the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research from 1999 until his retirement earlier this year.

He acted as a specialist adviser to the House of Commons select committee on education on the Children and Families Act, 2014.

The commission is due to start with a series of individual and group interviews, including with education leaders, councillors and members of Newham Parents Forum.

These interviews will develop lines of enquiry and themes which will be explored through events for people who live in the borough and professionals over the next six months.

People are encouraged to share their experiences, knowledge and best practice at themed events which will be advertised on the council's website and via Newham Parents Forum.

Prof Lindsay can also be emailed at

The commission meetings will be available on the council’s YouTube channel.