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 will say a little bit more about that. There are perverse incentives. The hon. Lady talked about an audit of the spend, which I think is an important issue. I should also mention—I think it was mentioned already—the £4.6 million that is going into parent-carer forums and the £20 million going into advice, information and support for children and young people with SEND, and their parents, which lasts until 2020.

We are aware of those incentives in the current system—that £6,000—as was mentioned by Dr Drew. We intend to gather more information about the way the funding system operates in a call for evidence that we will launch shortly. I am sure that the Education Committee will be involved in that.

I must not forget that my hon. Friend the Member for York Outer secured this debate, so I will mention funding in York. We have announced £250 million additional funding for higher needs across England over the next financial year. Yorkshire will receive £785,000 on top of the increases already promised, bringing City of York Council’s higher needs funding to over £90 million next year. However, we recognise that budgets are facing pressures. The Secretary of State is very aware of that.

On educational psychologists, our plans include ensuring a sufficient supply of educational psychologists, trained and working within the system. We said that we would train more to meet increasing demand. Today I am pleased to announce funding of over £30 million to make that happen.

On teachers, briefly, we talked about the need for teachers to be able to recognise and help children with special educational needs. We have developed a range of specialist resources for initial teacher training, including on autism and dyslexia. We are reviewing SEN provision in initial teacher training to inform case studies of good practice. We are taking a range of measures to make that better, which I would go through, but time does not allow.