School Funding — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans 9:30 am, 24th October 2018

I completely accept the picture that the hon. Lady paints. If we are here to do anything, it is to try to move forward consensually—education is not a hot potato that we can repeatedly pick up and drop. She mentioned statementing for children with special educational needs. Parents tell me that there is sometimes reluctance to statement a child because of the extra resources that should automatically be associated with that. We must look into that, too.

Instead of stepping in and helping SEN children, some mainstream schools permanently exclude pupils, as the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale mentioned, and academies such as Links in my constituency pick up the pieces. As a result of funding pressures, mainstream schools do not always have the staff or resources to care for those children. I have heard parents say that when they contact a mainstream school that has places—this is what Lilian Greenwood referred to—but inform it that their child has a special educational need, they suddenly find that the place is no longer available. That is a primary concern for teachers, and I hope that the Minister will set out his plans to secure and correctly direct SEN teaching resources, which are absolutely needed.