DfE provides £27m to boost SEND support

By Neil Puffett

| 11 May 2018

Support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is to receive a boost, with the Department for Education confirming three new contracts with a total value of £27m as part of efforts to improve provision.

Nadhim Zahawi said the fact that almost all SEN statements were reviewed on time is "testament to the hard work of councils and their partners". Picture: UK Parliament

The announcement comes as new figures show that the number of children still waiting to be transferred from an SEN statement to an education, health, and care (EHC) plan fell to less than 4,000 as of the 31 March deadline.

Figures published in March showed that 14,305 (six per cent) of the 236,225 children who had special educational needs statements when the transfer process began in September 2014 had not been issued with an educational, health and care (EHC) plan as of 1 March.

But the latest figures show the number waiting has now dropped to 3,873 (1.6 per cent of the total).

The three new contracts announced by the DfE include a £20m scheme whereby the Council for Disabled Children, in partnership with Contact, will provide families and young people with SEND with impartial advice, support and information about the services and support on offer.

Meanwhile, a £3.8m contract with Contact, in partnership with KIDS and the Council for Disabled Children, to promote and develop strategic participation by young people and parent carers.

A SEND school workforce contract with Nasen and University College London, on behalf of the Whole School SEND consortium - worth £3.4m over two years - to bring together schools, voluntary organisations and experts so that schools can deliver high-quality SEND support.

Children's minister Nadhim Zahawi said: "We want every child to have the support they need to unlock their potential, no matter what challenges they face.

"Today's data shows that almost all of SEN statements were reviewed on time, which is testament to the hard work of councils their partners and families all over the country to give children and young people with SEND the support they deserve.

"The new contracts we are announcing today, worth more than £25m, will build on the progress we have seen over the last four years to make sure children, young people and their families have access to excellent support to help guide them through the new system.

"We are also putting in place new measures to improve the SEND training available to school staff, including tools to develop the role of early years SEND co-ordinators - building on a commitment set out in our Early Years Workforce Strategy."

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