Special Educational Needs: Public Expenditure

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th November 2021.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Autumn Spending Review 2021, what steps his Department is taking to measure how effective the Government's spending plans are in tackling the backlog in new Education, Health and Care Plan assessments.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government is committed to having clear oversight of local areas’ performance on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We work closely with Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and our delivery partners to support and, where appropriate, challenge those local areas at risk of, or who are, underperforming.

We are still looking at the Autumn Spending Review settlement and working across the department to ensure that it does have a measurable impact in reducing backlogs in Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessments.

However, we currently support local authorities to meet their statutory duties for SEND, including challenging those local authorities where there are long-standing backlogs in EHCP assessments. As part of this support, we deliver a training programme to local authorities, health, and social care staff on their statutory duties, as well as funding projects to support children with SEND. This in turn supports improved practice so that local authorities are able to address backlogs more effectively.

Additionally, this year, local authorities have access to £51.3 billion to deliver their core services, including SEND services. Local authorities have the flexibility to spend according to local needs and priorities, including to undertake Education, Health and Care needs assessments.

Also, educational psychologists have a statutory duty to assess the needs of individual children and young people for EHCPs. We provide funding to train cohorts of educational psychologists. Since 2020, the number of trainees has increased from 160 to over 200 per year.

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