I am encouraged that the Government has ambitious plans to level up opportunities for all children and young people, without exception. This includes children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) as well as for every other child.
Following an extensive review of the current SEND system, the Department for Education is aware of the need for much greater consistency in how needs are identified and supported. This means that decisions will be made on what a child or young person needs in cooperation with their families, rather than where they live or the setting which they attend. Further, the Department intends to create a more inclusive education system to ensure that children and young people with SEND are set up to thrive.
As part of the SEND Green Paper the Department for Education has said that it will introduce a number of measures, including increasing the total investment in the schools' budget with an additional £1 billion during the 2022-23 academic year to support children and young people with the most complex needs. Alongside this an investment of £2.6 billion will be made over the next three years to deliver new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND. The Department has also said that it will fund more than 10,000 additional respite placements and invest £82 million in a network of family hubs which means that more children, young people and their families will be able to access wraparound support. I am glad that the Department is also commissioning analysis to better understand the support that SEND children and young people need from the health system, to ensure that there is a clear focus on SEND in the healthcare workforce planning system.
I understand that these proposals are currently subject to a consultation, which is due to close on 1 July 2022. I would therefore encourage everyone to reflect on these proposals and respond to the consultation to ensure that the Department hears from as many voices as possible to ensure the new system is delivered to the highest standard.
Finally, I welcome the virtual Parliamentary event that is taking place on 17 June 2022. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend due to prior Parliamentary commitments. However, if you have any concerns about your own children or the policy in Central Bedfordshire, please do let me know directly.