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Special Educational Needs — [Geraint Davies in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:13 am on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 10:13 am, 20th March 2019

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Davies. I thank Julian Sturdy for covering so many points in his introductory remarks.

I have just two simple requests for the Minister, which I have raised with the Minister for School Standards and with the Prime Minister a couple of weeks ago. Alex Chalk will not be surprised to hear what I have to say. My first request relates to the point made by the hon. Members for York Outer and for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron): the £6,000 is a completely perverse incentive. It is unfair. It is effectively a tax on inclusive schools: they are trying to take pupils and help them, yet they are being hammered by that £6,000. If the Government could do something about that by losing that £6,000, that would be the fairest thing of all.

My other point is that much of the deficit for schools in Gloucestershire is now due to the fact that the additional needs element is not reaching those schools but getting stuck somewhere in the system. If the Government could ensure that the additional needs element reaches the schools so that they are able to defray the expenditure in the most appropriate way, it would make a dramatic difference and stop some of the deficits that are beginning to rise.