In September I held a meeting with Oxfordshire County Council to discuss our local SEND service. I was able to discuss some concerns raised with me by constituents about communication, the allocation of funding, staffing and the process for applications directly with Council representatives.
I was reassured to learn that significant funding has been allocated to the service recently by the Council, and that senior leadership are working to address current shortcomings in the service. It is vital that we see improvements made in Oxfordshire. I will be monitoring progress very closely.
More broadly, I am encouraged by the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting children and young people with SEND to thrive. I welcome the publication of the Green Paper which sets out ambitious proposals to reform and improve the current system.
Following an extensive review of the current SEND system, I know that the Department for Education (DfE) is aware of the need for much greater consistency in how needs are identified and supported. In practice 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.
As part of the SEND Green Paper I understand that DfE will be introducing 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.
It goes without saying that should any constituents have concerns with the support a family member with SEND is receiving, please do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try my best to help.
In December, my Oxfordshire parliamentary colleagues and I sent a joint letter to the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, requesting a meeting to discuss the issues our constituents are facing and how we can improve local provision.