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Special Educational Needs: Disadvantaged

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL14545, tabled on 23 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that children with special educational needs in disadvantaged areas receive the required support.

Answered on

8 April 2021

Our ambition is for every child, no matter what challenges they face, to have access to a world-class education that sets them up for life. Supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is a priority for us, especially at this time.

The cross-government SEND Review is looking at ways to improve the SEND system across the country, including how to ensure better outcomes for children and young people with SEND. Our ambition is to publish proposals for public consultation in the spring.

We have already announced a major investment in special needs education, including an additional £730 million for those children and young people with high needs in the 2021-22 financial year, coming on top of the additional £780 million in the 2020-21 financial year, which means high needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5 billion, nearly a quarter, in just 2 years. The funding formula used for allocations of high needs funding includes factors designed to target more funding to disadvantaged areas.

We are also supporting local SEND services. On 10 February 2021, we announced over £42 million of funding for projects to support children and young people with SEND in financial year 2021-22. This investment will ensure that specialist organisations around the country can continue their work to help strengthen local area performance, support families and provide practical support to schools and colleges. It will strengthen participation of parents and young people in the SEND system – ensuring they have a voice in designing policies and services and have access to high quality information, advice and support. It includes £27.3 million specifically to support families on low incomes raising children with disabilities or serious illnesses.

Finally, we recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a particular impact on children and young people. We are committed to helping all pupils, including those with SEND, make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Sir Kevan Collins has been appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner and is considering how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils in greatest need. This includes £1.7 billion in funding to support education recovery. In June 2020 we announced a £1 billion catch-up package including a National Tutoring Programme and a Catch-up Premium for this academic year, and in February 2021 we committed to further funding of £700 million to fund summer schools, expansion of our tutoring programmes and a Recovery Premium for next academic year. Funding will support pupils across early years settings, schools, and colleges.