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Children: Disability

Question for Department for Education

UIN 10230, tabled on 4 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to help disabled children recover lost progress in managing their conditions as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

9 June 2021

We recognise that extended school and college restrictions have had a substantial impact on children and young people’s learning, health and wellbeing, particularly those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We are committed to supporting them and their families.

On 2 June 2021 we announced £1.4 billion new funding in addition to the £1.7 billion already committed, bringing total investment announced for education recovery over the past year to over £3 billion.

We have consistently prioritised children who attend specialist settings by providing additional uplifts to these settings, both in the 2020 Catch-up Premium and in the 2021 Recovery Premium, where specialist settings will also receive an uplift to deliver summer schools, at 3 times the normal rate. In mainstream settings, school leaders are able to target these initiatives to vulnerable children and are able to use the recovery premium to meet wider non-academic needs.

New funding for school-led tutoring will provide greater flexibility to schools to take on local tutors or use existing staff to supplement those employed through the existing National Tutoring Programme. We anticipate that this will especially benefit children and young people with SEND in all settings, where tutors familiar to these children can support them to realise the benefits of tuition.

Additional funding for training will ensure that teachers in schools and early years settings are able to access high quality training and professional development, designed around how to support all pupils to succeed. This includes children and young people with SEND in all settings. We know that high quality teaching is the best way to support all students, including those with SEND.

The 16-19 Tuition Fund will continue to support students with SEND as at present through small group tuition. Pupils with SEND in year 13 with an education, health and care plan will also be eligible to repeat up to a year where they have missed out due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Given the importance of therapists (such as speech and language or occupational therapy) and other health professionals in supporting children and young people with SEND, we are reminding settings that specialists, therapists, clinicians and other support staff for pupils and students with SEND should provide interventions as usual.

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