The minister for vulnerable children and families, Edward Timpson has confirmed nearly £60 million of funding from April 2017-18 to help embed reforms made to the system of support for SEND.
A new Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) system was introduced in September 2014, with the aim of making it easier for parents to get help for their children and give them a greater say.
Of the total funding, £15 million will go to the Independent Supporters programme, which is run by the Council for Disabled Children. The Department for Education (DfE) says the programme has been a ‘real driver’ of change for families navigating the SEND system and improving the experience for them.
The Parent Carer Forums, which bring parents together and provides a voice to influence local decision making, will receive £2.3 million.
Contact a Family will benefit from £1.8 million to support individual Parent Carer Forums, their National Network and to run a national helpline for families.
The package also includes funding for councils worth £40 million, which was confirmed by the minister for vulnerable children and families shortly before Christmas. The investment, an increase of £4.2 million from last year (2016-17) is designed to support councils in making effective plans for the final year of the transition to the new SEND system.
Mr Timpson said, ‘These reforms are the most significant we’ve made to the support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in a generation and we know that they are making a difference, thanks to the passion and dedication of all those involved.
‘As we enter the final year of the transition, I know there are still challenges to overcome, to ensure that the inspiring work going on in many parts of the country is shared with areas where improvements still need to be made.
‘That’s why I’m delighted to be able to confirm this additional funding for councils and for the groups playing such a vital role in supporting children with SEND. All children, no matter the obstacles they face, should have the same opportunities for success as any other.’
Gail Walshe, head of Parent Carer Participation at Contact a Family, said, ‘We are delighted that the Department for Education continues to recognise how parents of disabled children can make a difference.
‘Since 2010 parent participation has gone from strength to strength. Parent carers are increasingly at the heart of the shaping and re-design of disabled children's services, which is benefiting all. We are also delighted that the Government recognises the invaluable support that the Contact a Family helpline gives to families providing advice and information when they need it most.’