Sarah Teather (Minister of State (Children and Families), Education; Brent Central, Liberal Democrat)
holding answer 11 June 2012
I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made on 15 May 2012, Hansard, column 24WS, setting out our plans to radically reform the current system for identifying, assessing and supporting children and young people who are disabled or have special educational needs (SEN) and their families. We are currently providing £6 million a year to a range of organisations to improve support in local areas including: short breaks for families; training for key workers to support parents; supporting the national network to continue to develop parent partnership services that offer information and advice to parents about SEN; helping young people prepare for adulthood; helping early years professionals to identify children's language needs and improve their early language development; developing approaches to early intervention in mental health support for children and young people; and supporting local Parent and Carer forums to work with local authorities to help design and develop local services.
We have also launched a scholarship scheme for teachers to undertake specialist postgraduate qualifications and introduced a similar scheme for talented support staff to gain degree-level qualifications to improve their knowledge and expertise. We have developed materials on specific impairments to support continuing professional development and developed a greater focus on SEN within standards for qualified teacher status and the new professional qualification for headship.