Special Educational Needs

Department for Education written question – answered on 31st May 2019.

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Photo of Lord Porter of Spalding Lord Porter of Spalding Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that mainstream schools are supported and incentivised to be more inclusive towards children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Children and Families Act 2014 reinforced the presumption of mainstream education for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The accompanying SEND code of practice provides detailed guidance to schools about how to support children with SEND.

We have announced funding for new training places for over 600 new Educational Psychologists who help ensure that children with SEND get the support they need in school.

We are promoting the increased development of mainstream units and resourced provision through recent capital expenditure and in our guidance to new bidders for mainstream free schools. In December we announced a further £100 million top-up to the Special Provision Capital Fund for local authorities in 2019-20. This takes our total investment to £365 million across 2018-21. This funding can be used for more places in SEND units and resourced provision in mainstream schools, colleges or in special schools.

We are funding the Whole School SEND Consortium to embed SEND into school improvement planning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD). New SEND regional leads are bringing together practitioners and networks in their local area to build a community of practice and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

The new Ofsted common inspection framework, introduced from September 2019, will put more focus on SEND, rewarding schools for their work with pupils who need extra support. In addition, local area SEND inspections by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission are considering how effectively the local area identifies, meets the needs of, and improves the outcomes for the wide range of different groups of children and young people who have SEND.

A call for evidence on how the SEND funding system operates was recently announced on 3 May 2019 to help the department understand how the current available funding is distributed, and what improvements to the financial arrangements could be made in future.

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