Special Educational Needs: Finance

Department for Education written question – answered at on 21 February 2018.

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Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Public Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how mainstream schools are held to account for the use of SEND funding; and whether the Government plans to ring-fence that funding.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Public Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department takes to ensure that learners on SEND support in mainstream settings are prioritised by school leadership.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department expects schools to use their full budget to provide the best possible education for all their pupils, including those with Special Educational Needs (SEN). The department believes that headteachers are best placed to make decisions about how to spend their budgets, and have no plans to ring-fence SEN funding. Schools are held to account for the progress their pupils make through the school accountability system and Ofsted inspection.

There is a robust SEN system in place, that has been strengthened still further in recent years. The department has high expectations of schools over the support they should provide to pupils with SEN, and these can be seen for example in the statutory duties on schools to:

  • use their best endeavours to make provision for a pupil’s SEN.
  • have a SEN Co-ordinator with a Masters level specialist qualification.
  • publish a SEN Information Report setting out how they implement their SEN policy.
  • comply with the Equality Act 2010.

The government takes account of the implications for pupils with SEN and disabilities whenever new policies are developed. For example, the introduction of Progress 8 and new primary progress measures have strengthened the expectations on schools to support the progress of all their pupils, thereby adding greater weight to the effectiveness of the support schools provide to their pupils with SEN.

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