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Special Educational Needs

Volume 528: debated on Monday 23 May 2011

8. What progress he has made on the reform of provision for children with special educational needs in (a) Loughborough constituency and (b) England. (56581)

We published a Green Paper, “Support and Aspiration: A New Approach to Special Educational Needs and Disability”, on 9 March, and it is out to consultation until 30 June. We will consider responses carefully before taking forward our reforms, and we will shortly invite tenders for pathfinders to test proposals in the Green Paper. Within the general framework for special needs provision, it is for local authorities to determine the particular arrangements in their areas.

I thank the Minister for her reply and congratulate her on the excellent Green Paper. I have been contacted by a number of constituents from the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, however. Can she explain how the Department for Communities and Local Government’s review of statutory duties on local authorities fits in with the strategic role envisaged for local authorities in her Green Paper?

I thank the hon. Lady for that question. DCLG is undertaking a comprehensive review of all the statutory duties, but it is intended to remove unnecessary duties, not necessary duties, and there is absolutely no intention to downgrade those duties relating to special educational needs.

The Minister told the Education Committee last week that she thinks there will be resources for special educational needs. Children and parents deserve more than guesswork. Can she guarantee now that the Government will make sure that all children with additional learning needs have the support that they need to succeed at school?

That is exactly what the Green Paper is about, and I hope that the hon. Lady, if she has constituents who are particularly affected by our proposals, will ensure that they respond. The proposals are absolutely about making sure that children get the help that they deserve, but that is sadly not happening at the moment, partly because a lot of resources are wasted.