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Children with SEND: Provision of Support

Volume 717: debated on Monday 4 July 2022

13. What steps his Department is taking to improve the (a) identification of and (b) provision of support to children with SEND. (900846)

We are currently consulting on the special educational needs and disabilities and alternative provision Green Paper. This includes our proposal to establish a single national SEND and alternative provision system, setting nationally consistent standards. It will set out how needs should be identified and assessed, and the appropriate provision should be made available to meet those needs.

I thank the Minister for his answer. I have spoken to multiple parents in my constituency whose disabled children are entering the summer holidays without knowing where they are going to be in September or whether the support they need will be in place because of a lengthy delay for an appointment with an educational psychologist. While I welcome the Government’s announcement about increasing funding for educational psychologists, the 2023 intake is too late to help young people who need this support now. How do the Government intend to tackle the backlog in this support and ensure that the SEND Green Paper addresses the funding gap in disabled children’s services?

The SEND Green Paper will go some way to addressing that issue. I thank the hon. Lady for her question; she is right to say that educational psychologists play a critical role in identifying need and advising on appropriate support through their statutory role in the education, health and care plan process. Since 2020, we have increased the number of educational psychologists and the trainees we fund to more than 200 from 160 per annum, and we recently announced that we are investing over £10 million to train over 200 more from September 2023.