SEND Support

Education – in the House of Commons at on 27 February 2023.

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Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

What steps she is taking to improve support for children with special educational needs and disabilities and their families.

Photo of Kieran Mullan Kieran Mullan Conservative, Crewe and Nantwich

What steps she is taking to improve the provision of education for students with special educational needs and disabilities.

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

This is an area that the Secretary of State, given her former role in the Department of Health and Social Care, and I, as a former Minister for disabled people, take seriously. Getting our educational offer right for children with special educational needs and disabilities is hugely important, and I will be responding to the SEND and alternative provision Green Paper within the next week.

Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

At my surgery, I met a constituent who is a teacher at a SEND school. She broke down in tears as she told me how they are struggling to support their pupils because their budgets are stretched to breaking point. In Lewisham, increased need is costing £5 million a year more than the council’s SEND budget. When next week—if I heard that right—will the Government finally follow up on their Green Paper and publish their plans to fix this mess? Those vulnerable children and their families need proper support.

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

I will be responding to the SEND and AP Green Paper within the next week. We have increased funding massively in this area—it is up by 50% in the past three years. I struggle to think of another area of government that has risen that fast. This is about spending well and making sure that all the pupils who need help can get it as soon as possible.

Photo of Kieran Mullan Kieran Mullan Conservative, Crewe and Nantwich

We struggle with SEND provision in Cheshire, both in terms of special school places and support for children in school. Can the Minister outline the steps that the Government have taken to increase provision to build on the upcoming expansion of Springfield School in my constituency, and also join me in congratulating the school on its amazing achievement of being named school of the year last year in the national schools awards?

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

I join my hon. Friend in congratulating Springfield School on its outstanding achievement—he has often bent my ear about the head, Lisa Hodgkison, and the tremendous work she is doing there. We are investing £2.6 billion to increase the number of specialist school places across the country.