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SEND Green Paper

Volume 710: debated on Monday 14 March 2022

The special educational needs and disability review will be published this month as a Green Paper for full public consultation, so that we can continue to listen. Throughout the review we have listened to hundreds of organisations—including the National Network of Parent Carer Forums, Let Us Learn Too and Special Needs Jungle—children and parents.

A recent survey by the Disabled Children’s Partnership and Let Us Learn Too revealed that 60% of families with disabled children have sought mental health support because of the stresses of having to fight for basic services, while previous surveys have shown that nine in 10 disabled children are socially isolated. Given that, will the Minister outline how the Department for Education intends to use the SEND Green Paper to reduce the adversarial nature of the system and plans to improve access to mental health services for disabled children and their families?

I thank the hon. Lady for her well-put question. She is right: we want to create a less adversarial system in which parents do not have to fight to get the rights to which their children are rightly entitled. We want the best outcomes for all children with SEND in this country. The hon. Lady will have to wait only a handful more days for us to publish the review.

Can the Minister confirm that, from September, up to 3,000 new places are being created for children with special educational needs and disability through 35 new special free schools?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Through the spending review and the record £2.6 billion of investment in special school places, that will be delivered.