A multi-million pound package, which the Government says ensures thousands of children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) have the same opportunities as any other child, has been announced.
Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson said the £80m would help transform the life chances of children across the country and ensure every child, regardless of the challenges they face, can ‘dream big’ and fulfil their potential.
The announcement will increase funding for councils and support charities who work with some of the most vulnerable young people in the country. Alongside this, the government is continuing transition funding in 2017 to 2018 to help implement the reforms introduced in 2014, building on the progress so far.
For the first time ever the needs of children with complex SEND are all set out in one education, health and care (EHC) plan. It also means that councils are legally required to take the views of families into account when deciding on what support to offer.
The funding announced includes £35.8m in implementation funding for local authorities in 2016 to 2017, an increase of £4m on last year.
£27.3m worth of funding has been announced for the Family Fund Trust in 2016 to 2017 which aims to support low income families with disabled children, providing small scale grants, enabling them to make specific purchases and offering short respite breaks.
The funding also includes £15m to fund the independent supporters programme in 2016 to 2017, run by the Council for Disabled Children. The Government says this is a crucial catalyst for change, helping to support families and young people to navigate the system, and creating overwhelmingly positive experiences for them.
£2.3m was also announced for Parent Carer Forums in 2016 to 2017, who bring parents together to provide invaluable support and advice for families.
Mr Timpson said:
“Our vision for children with special educational needs and disability is simple: that their aspirations are as high any other young person, that they dream big, achieve well at school and college, and lead fulfilling, happy lives.
“We’ve made fundamental changes to the law to provide that support and the work I’ve seen so far, putting families at the heart of the process, is inspiring – but we know there is still more to do to.
“I’m delighted that today we can announce that we are committing more money to councils than last year, helping to make the transition for families accessing support as smooth as possible.”