Alternative Education and Special Educational Needs

Department for Education written question – answered at on 1 March 2024.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the availability of (a) SEND and (b) alternative provision placements.

Photo of David Johnston David Johnston The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Local authorities are responsible for providing enough school places for children in their area.

The department supports local authorities to provide sufficient school places through capital funding and has published over £1.5 billion of High Needs Provision Capital Allocations for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years. This funding is allocated to local authorities to support them to deliver new places and improve their existing provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as well as those who require alternative provision (AP). This funding forms part of the department’s transformational investment of £2.6 billion in new high needs provision between 2022 and 2025 and is on top of its ongoing delivery of new special and AP free schools.

Last summer, the department began collecting data from local authorities on available capacity in special schools, SEND units and resourced provision, along with corresponding forecasts of demand for these places. This data will help the department to more effectively support local authorities to fulfil their statutory duty to provide sufficient specialist places.

High needs funding to help local authorities with the ongoing costs of provision for children and young people with complex SEND and those in AP is increasing to over £10.5 billion next year, which is an increase of over 60% from the 2019/20 allocations.

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