Students: Special Educational Needs

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th July 2021.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ability of local authorities to sufficiently support special educational needs students.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We are committed to ensuring greater stability of services for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as we enter the recovery phase following the COVID-19 outbreak.

We aim to have clear oversight of local areas’ performance in delivering SEND services – including those that had weaknesses before the COVID-19 outbreak, and those that are struggling to respond to the challenges that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought. With this in mind, in April Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) re-started their programme of revisits to areas where SEND services need to improve and a Written Statement of Action was required. Full inspections recommenced in June.

We are working closely with Ofsted, the CQC, our professional advisory service and our delivery support partners to identify, support and intervene effectively and early in under-performing areas.

We recognise the need to strengthen accountability in the SEND system. That is why the Department for Education, with the support of the Department for Health and Social Care, has commissioned Ofsted and the CQC to develop a new area SEND inspection framework, which will launch after the existing inspection cycle has finished.

Learning from the published assessment of the current approach, the new framework will include a greater focus on the experience of children and young people with SEND and their families, and give more prominence to the quality, integration and commissioning of education, health and care services. The new framework will also take into account the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on services and on children, young people and families.

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