On the 30th March the Bishop of Durham spoke in the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Review debate.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I declare my interest as chair of the National Society, which leads the Church of England’s education work.
I hope the Minister will be pleased to hear that, in response to yesterday’s Green Paper, the Church of England has established a national network for SENCOs at primary and secondary levels, partly to get their opinions on how we should respond but also to offer development in future. However, I want to continue to pursue the early years question. Understandably, this is about education and social care. The first 1,001 days of life are the most crucial. Nothing here refers to the development of family hubs and the work of health visitors in the pre-two context, where some discernment ought to be available. Can the Minister comment on the join-up between the development of family hubs and the really early years?
Baroness Barran: I start by asking the right reverend Prelate—I am sure I speak on behalf of my ministerial colleagues as well—to share how warmly we welcome the creation of the networks. We very much look forward to their contributions to the consultation. In relation to family hubs, he is absolutely right that they are critical to this task of early identification. Obviously we have already announced our plans on family hubs; we are excited at the potential for multiagency working so that we can identify and support as early as possible. As the right reverend Prelate knows, family hubs support the whole family through to when the child reaches maturity; whether it is early or a bit later, they are there to help.