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Special Educational Needs

Department for Education written question – answered on 19th February 2020.

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Photo of Carla Lockhart Carla Lockhart DUP, Upper Bann

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to increase the level of sensory equipment in primary schools.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

Every school is required to identify and address the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) of their pupils. Schools also have duties under the Equality Act (2010) towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services, to ensure that disabled children are not at a substantial disadvantage compared with their peers.

Local authorities are responsible for meeting the additional support costs for pupils with SEND up to the value of £6,000 per pupil by providing schools with sufficient funds to enable them to do so from the schools block of the Dedicated Schools Grant.

When the costs of additional support required for a pupil with SEND exceed £6,000, the local authority should also allocate additional top-up funding to cover the excess costs. This top-up funding, and funding for special schools, comes from the local authority’s high needs budget. The department recently announced £780 million in additional high needs funding for the next financial year, bringing total high needs funding to over £7 billion. Every local authority in England will see an increase in high needs funding of at least 8% per head of population aged 2 to 18.

The department have also allocated £365 million special provision capital funding to local authorities in England from 2018 to 2021, to increase the number of places available locally and enhance facilities for children with the most complex SEND. This could include re-purposing areas so that they meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

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