To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the availability and adequacy of education facilities for children diagnosed with autism and other special needs in each county; what plans he has to ensure that future demand for such facilities is met; and if he will make a statement.
28 April 2021
We are investing £300 million of capital funding in the 2021-22 financial year to support local authorities to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or who require alternative provision. This funding is on top of the £365 million we have invested through the Special Provision Capital Fund from the financial years 2018-19 to 2020-21, and our continued investment in the free schools programme. We are also providing an increase in revenue funding for those children and young people with more complex needs, of nearly a quarter (24%) over 2 years, bringing the total high needs budget to more than £8 billion in the 2021-22 financial year.
The department will continue to work with local authorities to better understand future demand for SEND provision, including for children with autism, as it considers how it can best support the sector going forwards. Funding for places required in future years will be subject to the outcomes of the next government Spending Review, where we will have a chance to consider how we can best support the sector in the round.
The SEND review is looking at ways to make sure the SEND system is consistent, high quality, and integrated across education, health and care. It is also considering measures to make sure that money is being spent fairly, efficiently and effectively, and that the support available to children and young people is sustainable in the future.