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Special Needs Education: Funding

Volume 738: debated on Monday 23 October 2023

Higher needs funding for children and young people with complex needs is increasing by a further £440 million next year, bringing the total higher needs budget to £10.5 billion in 2024-25—60% higher than it was in 2019-20.

I am grateful to the Minister for that response, and I heard the earlier responses, but there is a shortage of places in special needs schools—special schools for children who need those places. Will he carry out a national assessment of the number of places that are available in special schools against the number of places that are needed, because it is resulting in some children having to attend mainstream schools when actually they should be in special schools?

My hon. Friend makes an important point. We have approved the opening of 78 special schools, and this year we collected new data from local authorities on their capacity and demand forecast for special schools. That will help us to support them more effectively to fulfil their duty to provide sufficient places.