Children, Schools and Families Bill

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 4:18 pm, 11th January 2010

My hon. Friend makes a good point. The Select Committee's reports of the past two, three or four years on these matters have been very important. He will know that, as part of the Lamb work, we are considering whether arm's length statementing from local authorities will be a good idea. However, I must say that the Lamb review was more concerned about information flows to parents and the quality of advice than about independence, and we are now testing out that issue. I think that there is a broader point to make: children with SEN have tended to be on the periphery, and it has tended to be the parents who shouted the loudest who have received support. Many parents have felt deeply frustrated that they could not get support without banging on the door and making a great fuss. That is fundamentally unfair, because it is not right that those who shout the loudest should get the support, or that one should have to shout loud to get support. If the Lamb review is properly implemented and properly resourced, it could make a massive difference to children with SEN. I hope that the Select Committee will pay close attention to how we implement it, because its impetus to progress has been very important in this matter.

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