Special Educational Needs — [Geraint Davies in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:44 am on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton Minister of State (Education) 10:44 am, 20th March 2019

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. We need to work together on this. In a previous debate that I covered for the Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend Nadhim Zahawi, I said that Sir Edward Davey was very welcome to work across the House to ensure that the system works.

My hon. Friend the Member for York Outer referred to a mental health crisis. This did not get much attention, but the number of pupils with SEN is rising quite rapidly. We did not get many contributions on the number of offenders who have dyslexic difficulties; a lot of people in prison have such problems. Another issue is the bullying of children with SEN. Coursework was also mentioned. My hon. Friend Anne Marie Morris referred to employers valuing the skills of people with special educational needs, and she was right. I have seen absolutely excellent work by employers in my role as the Minister with responsibility for apprenticeships.

James Frith made a very good point about flexibility. That is the trouble, is it not? We swing from one side right over to the other. Particularly for children with special educational needs, we need to be flexible in the way we assess them in schools. Additional flexibility, adequate adjustments—