Special Educational Needs

Department for Education written question – answered am ar 22 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions she has had with local authorities on allocating school places to children with SEND based on the level of support available.

Photo of David Johnston David Johnston The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The statutory duty to provide sufficient school places, including for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), sits with local authorities. The department allocates funding to support local authorities to meet this duty and has allocated over £1.5 billion of High Needs Provision Capital Allocations (HNPCA) for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years.

This funding can be used to deliver new places in mainstream and special schools, as well as other specialist settings, and to improve the suitability and accessibility of existing buildings, local authorities can spend the funding across the 0-25 age range, including in special post-16 institutions or other further education settings. The need for investment across this age range will differ between different local authorities, dependent on local circumstances, and it is therefore for local authorities to determine how to best prioritise their available funding to address their local priorities.

Through our reforms, we want to ensure that placements for children and young people with SEND are sufficient to meet need, allowing them to access the right support, in the right setting, at the right time.

In the SEND and alternative provision (AP) Improvement Plan the department set out proposals to support parents and carers, or young people from the age of 16, to express an informed preference for a suitable placement, by requiring local authorities to provide a tailored list of settings that are appropriate to meet a child or young person’s needs. Tailored lists are about illustrating choice for parents and young people by providing detailed, relevant information about suitable placements. We are testing an advisory version of the tailored list proposal in participating local authorities through the Change Programme, to gain feedback on the best way to support families as they choose a placement.

In addition, we will establish new local SEND and AP partnerships which will bring together delivery partners across local systems to strategically plan and commission support for children and young people with SEND and in AP. The partnerships will be expected to co-produce a Local Area Inclusion Plan based on robust evidence that will explain how the needs of children and young people in the area will be met.

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