News story

Boost in support for children with additional needs

New contracts announced to improve training for school staff and provide additional advice for families

Nadhim Zahawi

New measures to boost support for children and young people with additional needs have been announced today (10 May), setting out the next steps in the government’s drive to give every child the tools to fulfil their potential.

Data published today shows more than 98% of Statements of Special Educational Needs (SEN) were reviewed by the 31 March 2018 deadline, as part of the introduction of new Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

These new plans provide tailored support for children and young people with additional needs, bringing together their education, health and social care needs for the first time.

The Department for Education has also confirmed three new contracts to boost support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families, to build on the progress being made to tackle inequalities in the education system that will ensure Britain is a country that works for everyone.

Minister for Children and Families, 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 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) the support they deserve.

The new contracts we are announcing today, worth more than £25 million, 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 coordinators – building on a commitment set out in our Early Years Workforce Strategy.

The new measures include:

  • A contract worth £20million with the Council for Disabled Children, in partnership with Contact, to provide families and young people with SEND with impartial advice, support and information about the services and support on offer.
  • A £3.8million 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 (UCL), on behalf of the Whole School SEND consortium, worth £3.4million over two years - to bring together schools, voluntary organisations and experts so that schools can deliver high-quality SEND.

Alongside these new contracts, the Department has developed new tools in partnership with nasen and Action for Children to create a job description and specification for Level 3 Early Years Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs).

This delivers on a commitment set out in the government’s Early Years Workforce Strategy and will boost the profile of this important early years role to make sure children with additional learning needs get the right support from the earliest opportunity.

Published 10 May 2018