To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children with (a) special educational needs and (b) disabilities are able to access the support and therapies they require following the covid-19 pandemic.
The department encourages schools and colleges to work collaboratively with their local authority, clinical commissioning group, and health providers to ensure that children and young people in their education providers have access to the appropriate therapies and support, including working through any backlogs in assessments. To support this, the department issued joint guidance last year for education and health providers, working with a cross-sector group, including the Royal Colleges and professional organisations. The guidance is available at: https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/about-cdc/media-centre/news-opinion/delivery-specialist-11-and-group-interventions-children-and.
In December 2021, the government announced an additional £1 billon for the recovery premium over the next two academic years (2022/23 and 2023/24). Building on this year’s recovery premium, this will help schools to deliver a range of evidence-based approaches to support the most disadvantaged pupils, and specialist providers receive an uplift in this funding in recognition of the higher per pupil costs they face. Schools can use their recovery premium funding to help subsidise the cost of support such as speech and language therapies, should they wish to do so. In addition, the schools-led element of the National Tutoring Programme can be used for tutoring to support catch-up in the broader curriculum, such as practising and consolidating techniques in speech and language therapy.
The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper sets out the government’s proposals to improve the outcomes and experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families. It aims to drive national consistency in how needs are assessed, identified, and met across education, health, and care through the introduction of national standards. This includes a proposal to commission analysis to better understand the support that children and young people with SEND need from the health workforce, so that there is a clear focus on SEND in future health workforce planning. The full public consultation on proposals within the Green Paper closed on 22 July 2022. The Green Paper can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/send-review-right-support-right-place-right-time.
The department aims to respond to the consultation by the end of this year.