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

I am sure that the Minister for School Standards, my right hon. Friend Nick Gibb, will take that up. We continue to have discussions about that.

My hon. Friend the Member for York Outer talked about parents having to privately fund the diagnosis of children. We have talked about the battles that parents face. I repeat what I said in a previous debate on that matter: parents with sharp elbows battle through the system better, but even those with sharp elbows have a difficult fight. The hon. Member for Bury North raised the fact that that money is wasted, and it should be on the frontline. We still have a lot to do.

I will come on to the issue of teacher training. My hon. Friend Alex Chalk raised the important issue of the need to help mainstream schools include children with SEN, and I will say a bit more about that in a minute. My hon. Friend Ben Bradley mentioned FE briefly, but, as the Minister for FE, it caught my ear. Further education colleges do a fantastic job with young people with special educational needs, who often have not succeeded at school or had their needs met. I was recently at a college where they have 400 children with special educational needs, one of whom would not come into the college at all, but stood outside. That child is now thriving, doing well in his qualifications and is about to go on an apprenticeship—absolutely brilliant work.