Amendment 114A

Part of Schools Bill [HL] - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 22 June 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat 6:15, 22 June 2022

My Lords, I will speak briefly to Amendment 129. I put my name to this because I saw it and said, “Yes, this is right”. What level of support are you going to give to a certain group with special educational needs, particularly if they do not have the plan? Anyone who has looked at special educational needs knows that there is a great struggle to get the plan. We have a bureaucratic legal system in which whether you get it often depends on the lawyer you have employed. I know that this was not the original intention of the Bill, because I did it. Going through this process, there was supposed to be something called a graduated approach involved. Can we have some indication of what the Government feel the process will be in future? I assume that the new review of special educational needs will come up with something that is an improvement.

The law of unintended consequences, or the cock-up theory of history, means that we have a mess in special educational needs at the moment. I do not think anybody seriously disputes that, but I hope that in future we will not be so dependent on the plan, the statement mark 2, the gold star tattooed on the back of your neck or whichever way you identify special educational needs; you will not be as determined on the higher classification. Many people are getting the plan now because they are not getting any support, their education is deteriorating and they are suddenly finding themselves in the higher-needs group.

I did the Bill and the noble Baroness did not, so maybe this fault falls more on me than on her, but that is the state of affairs at the moment. Some indication that the Government will intervene before they get to this crucial point would be very reassuring, at least with regard to their thinking and lines of progression on this. It is not happening at the moment, and some assurance that it will happen in future, or at least that the Government plan for it to happen in future, would make life a little easier.