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Special Educational Needs

Question for Department for Education

UIN 228859, tabled on 24 March 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2015 to Question 222713, what appropriate external support is available to a local area to improve the quality of special educational needs and disability services and their delivery.

Answered on

26 March 2015

The Department for Education has provided funding of £45.2 million in 2014-15 and £31.7 million in 2015-16 to meet the additional costs to local authorities in England of implementing Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014. Additionally, a £70 million SEN Reform Grant was made to local authorities in 2014-15. For 2015-16 further support with implementation of the reforms will be made available to parents, local authorities and other organisations.

It is up to local areas to decide what external support to commission and deploy to help them improve the quality of special educational needs (SEN) and disability services and their delivery.

For parents, there is continuing investment in Independent Supporters, worth £15 million per year 2014-15 and 2015-16. A strategic grant with the National Network of Parent Carer Forums and Contact a Family will ensure that parents can help shape local provision and get the help they need. It will include a free, national helpline for parents and ongoing support through e-mail and websites.

Local authorities and their partners will be supported by a network of SEN and Disability Regional Lead authorities, who will facilitate peer support and coordinate activity at a regional level. This will include funding to support the regional supported internships offer. Local authorities will also get help from a new consortium made up of Mott MacDonald, The Council for Disabled Children and the National Development Team for Inclusion. The Consortium will be called Delivering Better Outcomes Together and will manage the SEN and disabilities adviser service, provide specialist advice and support to local authorities and their partners and deliver a pilot training and development programme for senior SEN and disability managers in local authorities. The nine areas are: the London Borough of Bromley; Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council; Coventry City Council; Dorset County Council; Durham County Council; Hertfordshire County Council; Leicester City Council; Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council; and Portsmouth City Council.

A range of grants are also being made across the voluntary and community sector to support their children. These grants will offer specialist advice on specific SEN and disabilities, including mental health. They provide advice to local authorities and their partners across education, health and social care in delivering the SEN and disability reforms, including support to parents and young people.