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Cost of Living: Children with SEND

Volume 721: debated on Wednesday 26 October 2022

6. What steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Education to help ensure equality of opportunity for children with special educational needs and disabilities in the context of the cost of living crisis. (901843)

For pupils with complex needs, high-needs education funding is increasing by £1 billion in the 2022-23 financial year, bringing the total funding to £9.1 billion. The Department also provides £27.3 million per annum to deliver grants to support low-income families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

I welcome that support, but constituents who are parents of disabled children often tell me that they feel it is like an obstacle race and there are many hurdles put in their way to get the support they need for their children, both at home and at school. Can the Government make it easier to access essential special educational needs and disabilities support?

My right hon. Friend raises an important question. The SEND and alternative provision Green Paper proposals aim to improve experiences and outcomes for children and young people with SEND within a fairer and more sustainable system. We are investing £301.75 million jointly with the Department of Health and Social Care to transform start for life and family support services in 75 local authorities across England.

As we face the worst cost of living crisis in memory, it is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to provide important life experiences for their children. Springfield House in Birmingham is a wonderful SEND school, which many students across Coventry North West attend. For many years it has provided away nights for pupils, giving children the chance to spend time away from home, with their peers, in a safe environment. Because of Government cuts, those away nights are being axed. Will the Minister speak to her counterpart in the Department for Education to ensure that families in Coventry do not lose that much-needed service?

The Government are doing some amazing work, and I point the hon. Lady’s constituents and those of MPs across the House to a fantastic website,, which demonstrates the great services open to people who are having difficulties.