Special Educational Needs: Hampshire

Department for Education written question – answered on 30th November 2022.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the level of educational choice for parents of children with SEND in North East Hampshire constituency.

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

A joint local area special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) inspection of Hampshire was undertaken by Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) in March 2020. At the time, inspectors identified no significant areas of weakness in SEND services.

The department’s SEND data collection is about a full local authority and does not analyse by districts. Nor do we collect data on the level or range of choices of provision in each local area.

Local authorities are statutorily responsible (under the Children and Families Act 2014) for keeping their local offer of services and provision for children and young people with SEND under review, in co-production with parents, young people and educational providers. It is for local authorities to ensure there are sufficient good school places for all pupils, including those with SEND. The Hampshire local offer provides some information about schools by major towns in Hampshire, but not by districts. Further information can be accessed here: https://fish.hants.gov.uk/kb5/hampshire/directory/results.page?familychannel=6-1-3. Under the Act, parents or young people have the statutory right to request that a particular school, further education college in England or other educational institution is named in their Education, Health, and Care plan.

In March 2022, the department announced High Needs Provision Capital Allocations (HNPCA) amounting to a new investment of over £1.4 billion. This funding is to support local authorities to deliver new places for academic years 2023/24 and 2024/25, and to improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND or who require alternative provision (AP). This funding forms part of the £2.6 billion the department is investing between 2022 and 2025 and represents a significant, transformational investment in new high needs provision. It will support local authorities to deliver new places in mainstream and special schools, as well as other specialist settings, and will also be used to improve the suitability and accessibility of existing buildings.

Hampshire’s provisional high needs revenue funding allocation for 2023/24 will be £187.2 million, a 24% per head increase over two years on the amount of high needs funding allocated in 2021/22. In addition to this funding, the 2022 Autumn Statement announced that the national core schools budget (covering both mainstream schools and high needs) will increase by £2 billion in 2023/24 and a further £2 billion in 2024/25, over and above totals announced in the 2021Spending Review. We will confirm plans for how this additional funding will be allocated shortly.

Hampshire received a total of just over £31.3 million through the HNPCA announced in March 2022. This amount represents funding for financial years 2022/23 and 2023/24 and will help the local authority to create new places and improve facilities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities or who require alternative provision. Prior to that, the local authority received just below £6.8 million through its 2021/22 HNPCA funding announced in April 2021.

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