To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of waiting times for places in SEN schools on families.
22 November 2021
The department does not collect information on waiting times for places in special schools.
Where a local authority identifies that a pupil requires a special school place (through the statutory education, health and care assessment process), they are statutorily required to secure the placement under the Children and Families Act 2014. Local authorities have a duty to arrange suitable education for any pupil of compulsory school age who, because of illness, permanent exclusion or other reasons, would not get a suitable education without such provision. Local authorities are required to keep the sufficiency of special educational provision in their area under review.
On 27 October 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that an additional £2.6 billion has been made available over the next three years to deliver new places and improve existing provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities or who require alternative provision. The government continues to invest in the Free Schools programme, through which 74 special and 50 alternative provision free schools have opened across the country since 2010, with 70 similar projects in the pipeline.