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Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 125334, tabled on 18 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 9 February 2022 to Question 114851 on Special Educational Needs: Coronavirus, what estimate he has made of the number of additional qualified level 3 special educational needs coordinators required by each local authority.

Answered on

28 February 2022

In line with the early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework, group-based early years providers and childminders are expected to identify a person to act as a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO). It is the responsibility of early years providers to ensure that they operate in compliance with the EYFS framework.

As part of the early years recovery programme, the Department for Education will fund a significant increase in the amount of training available to early years SENCOs that results in an accredited level 3 early years SENCO qualification. SENCOs working in group-based and childminder settings will be eligible for this training. It will be nationally available, targeting local authorities which have higher levels of disadvantage because these have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and are where we know the support is most needed. We estimate that the training will achieve an increase of up to 10% in the number of early years providers with a qualified SENCO.

The training package is subject to independent evaluation to explore the effects of the training on practitioner knowledge of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the accuracy of SEND identification, the quality of support in place and levels of school readiness. This will help develop our understanding of SEND support across the early years sector to inform any future training and development initiatives.