On 17th October 2019 Lord Watson of Invergowrie asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they will take further to the recent survey of local authorities in England which found that since 2014 approximately £400 million has been diverted from mainstream education budgets in order to pay for special needs education.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, several heads in Coventry and Warwickshire have told me about the heavy demands on their energies and budgets from, to quote one primary head, children who are not on the SEN register but face horrific circumstances at home and so need extra help; for example, families who are homeless through domestic violence and children whose mental health is so poor—these are nine year-olds—that they threaten suicide. Does the Minister recognise the pressures on schools in mainstream education from children who do not meet the thresholds of special needs but who nevertheless have severe needs and require acute support? Is he confident that there is sufficient funding for them?
Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government what funds are available for pupils with severe needs”
On Wednesday 27th March 2019 Lord Storey asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure that all alternative education providers are providing a quality education.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I am grateful for the Question from the noble Lord, Lord Storey, and for the Minister’s answers to previous questions. At the Aspire Academy in Hull, an alternative provision academy that forms part of the Sentamu Academy Learning Trust, a unique multi-professional team that includes a clinical psychologist, a psychotherapist, speech and language therapists and educational psychologists is in place to ensure that students’ mental health and special educational needs are met. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that mental health care and special needs provision are part of what it means for alternative provision providers to offer a quality education?
Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about mental health support for children in alternative provision”
On 26th March 2019 Lord Addington asked the Government “what is the average time without appropriate special educational needs support spent by students who have successfully appealed a decision to have an education, health and care plan.” The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I understand that the purpose of the 2014 set of reforms was to ensure a holistic approach by health, education and social care services in the support of children with special needs and of their families. But when appeals take place, I understand that it is not uncommon for social care services to say that they do not know the child. Are the Government ensuring proactive co-operation between health, social care and education services in supporting such children and their parents?
Continue reading “Bishop of Ely asks Government about special educational needs provision”
On 29th November 2018 Baroness Morris of Yardley led a debate in the Lords on the motion “That this House takes note of the impact on schools of Her Majesty’s Government’s approach to school funding.” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Morris of Yardley, for securing this important debate on school funding and for her impassioned and powerful introduction to it. I fear that she is right that there is a crisis in school funding. Head teachers in the diocese of Worcester speak of the stress they are experiencing due to funding worries; of not sleeping due to such worries, which impacts negatively on all they are trying to do; of a sense of letting down children with significant needs; and of a feeling that they have nowhere to turn to be truly heard. One head of a school who has been asked to double its numbers has not been provided with sufficient funding to do so, throwing his school into financial insecurity and causing immense stress. Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester says crisis in school funding causing stress for staff and impacting children with special educational needs”
On 4th June 2018 Lord Storey asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of education, health and care plans on children with special educational needs.” The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, in Cumbria where I live, a huge proportion of schools are classified as small and are often very small. Their funding, especially for children with special educational needs, is greatly limited by their ability to access economies of scale. Does the Minister agree that in smaller schools educational outcomes can at present be disproportionately affected by current funding models? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks about SEN funding for small schools”
On 26th May 2016 Lord Addington led a debate in the House of Lords “That this House takes note of the case for improved individual school capacity to deal with commonly occurring special educational needs and disabilities, in the light of the increasing number of academies and free schools.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, took part:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I am also very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Addington, for securing this debate. Our schools prepare young people for our communities and are committed to seeing that all children are valued and respected, which serves to build a society where all know the fullness of life. Last week in this House, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Ely reminded us:
“Life in all its fullness means being exacting, rigorous, ambitious and having appetite for all that excellence demands”.—[Official Report, 19/6/16; col. 63.]
He added in another speech that,
“we cannot allow our commitment to academic rigour blind us to the fact that we are teaching people, not subject matter”.
This is core to the Christian idea of education as a matter of mutual flourishing, of which academic achievement is only a part, albeit an important part. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark: special educational needs children “not a burden but a gift””