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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

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right: the teachers do a fantastic job, in circumstances which are—certainly in further education—quite difficult. He also mentioned funding. He never hesitates to mention the particular issues facing Bexleyheath and Crayford. Through the Children and Families Act 2014—I sat on the Committee considering the Bill—we made big changes to strengthen SEND, including £391 million given to local areas to support implementation, £252 million of which was provided directly to local authorities.

We have approved 125 new special schools spread across the country, including 37 extra ones. A number of hon. Members have also raised the need to have inclusion, as well, so we have provided an extra £100 million of capital funding to create more places in mainstream schools, colleges and special schools for children with SEN, bringing the total capital investment since 2018 to £365 million. The line between inclusion and special schools is very wavy. We must be guided by which setting best suits the needs of the child, though there is sometimes a discrepancy with parents, who want one or the other.