Special Educational Needs — [Geraint Davies in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Julian Sturdy Julian Sturdy Conservative, York Outer 9:30 am, 20th March 2019

I appreciate that advice, Mr Davies.

We need to review the perverse incentives that result in schools failing to identify children as SEN, and the controversy between parents and local authorities over EHCP qualification. We need to prioritise teacher training, so that all teachers have basic skills for working with children with SEN, creating a more integrated approach. I have questions as to whether the policy of new SEN free schools is the right way of addressing the underlying issues, as I have mentioned.

Finally, we need to look at the effectiveness of education, health and care plans, especially in regard to the proportion of local government higher needs SEN funding spent on those plans at the expense of the 80% of SEN children and students who are not on the plans or who just miss out on qualifying for an EHCP. Ultimately those children are falling through the gaps, and the consequences for their future development and potential opportunities are huge. We Westminster politicians must not forget that, and must face up to it and react. I hope that the debate, given the number of colleagues present from across the House, will mean that we can try to move things on. I look forward to hearing what the Minister and other Front-Bench speakers have to say.