Policy Update, Nov 13

 We take a look at the events and articles to be aware of in the education and SEND world, powered by Driver Youth Trust.

New Minister for Disabled People 

Following the promotion of Penny Mordaunt MP to Secretary of State for International Development, Sarah Newton has been appointed as the new Minister for Disabled People. Newton has been the MP for Truro and Falmouth since 2010, previously she was assistant government whip and a minister at the Home Office.

Before politics she worked IBIS, Citibank and American Express and was Director of Age Concern UK. Newton’s role will focus on cross-governmental disability issues and the Disability Confident employment scheme.

Find out more about Sarah Newton MP.

Nasen: SEND pupils ‘pushed out’ of mainstream schools 

Presenting at the Westminster Education Forum, Adam Boddison, Chief Executive of Nasen revealed new data that shows that the proportion of pupils with statements or EHCPs in special schools rose from 36 per cent in 2007 to 44 per cent for maintained special schools in 2017.  Boddison claimed that the increase is causing a “capacity problem” in special schools, which are “bursting at the seams” and also claimed new accountability measures meant that schools have ‘little room’ for inclusion.

Read the full story. 

Catch up with Education Questions including questions on SEND learners in home education, high needs funding in Stoke, access to extra-curricular activities for SEND learners and what more the government can do to support autistic learners in mainstream schools.     

Written Questions and answers over the last week: 

  • Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assistance is available for children with dyslexia and learning difficulties to support them during key stage 2 assessment. See answer.
  • Julia Lopez: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that young disabled people are able to participate in work experience. See answer.
  •  Layla Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make it her policy to require all state-funded schools to work with local authorities in developing a language needs assessment. See answer.
  • Jared O’Mara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of apprenticeship starts have been taken up by learners with learning difficulties and disabilities and special education needs and disability in 2016-17. See answer.
  • David Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children with an (a) Education, Health and Care plan, (b) Statement of SEN or (c) Learning Difficulties Assessment received a permanent or fixed exclusion within Gloucestershire in each of the last five years. See answer.


APPG for Young Disabled People, 1:00pm, Thatcher Room, Portcullis House  

The meeting will discuss the access of public transport for younger disabled people.

Work and Pensions oral questions, 2:30pm, House of Commons  

Question Time, 2:30pm, House of Lords

The third question will be asked by Lord Addington on payment of Disabled Students’ Allowance to dyslexic students.


Oral evidence session, 10:15, Education Committee

The Education Committee questions the Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield OBE as part of its series of accountability hearings early in the new Parliament. Questions will cover the role and work of the Commissioner, which was set up to promote and protect the rights of children in England, while the session will also be a chance for the Committee to ask about broader issues affecting the rights of young people.

Oral evidence session, 3:30pm, Economic Affairs Committee 

Will look into the economics of higher, further and technical education with Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor, Buckingham University.


Short debate, 1:00pm. House Of Lords 

Lord Bird leads debate on “What new resources and strategies the Government will implement to ensure that every child has the opportunity to attend a good school and that all schools are fairly funded, as announced in the Queen’s Speech.”

Anti-Bullying Week 2017 

Anti-Bullying Week is coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance and takes place this year from 13th – 17th November and is supported by SafeToNet.

Anti-Bullying Week shines a spotlight on bullying and encourages all children, teachers and parents to take action against bullying throughout the year. The theme this year is ‘All Different, All Equal.’

Find out more about the campaign and how to get involved.

Survey on the arrangements for transferring children from statements to EHC plans

 The Special Education Consortium (of which DYT is part) is conducing a survey into this important area – please help by completing the survey to express your views.

This survey is for any group, professional, or organisation with an overview of the transfer process in a local area, including parent carer and young people’s groups. However, we are not seeking the view of individual parent carers or young people at this stage.
Please note:
  • This survey should take about 5-10 minutes;
  • We ask for your email address and the name of your organisation so that we can inform you of the outcome of the survey. However, all responses will be treated as completely confidential.

The closing date for the survey is Friday 17 November, so if you haven’t already, please fill in the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SMTMRS6

Improve teacher education to help SEND pupils, research says. A report by the University of Cambridge says that teacher education must “urgently” be upgraded to improve learning for pupils with SEND (Schools Week)

‘1 in 5 teachers aware of illegal SEND exclusions.’  The NEU’s survey revealed that 20% of teachers are aware of illegal exclusions within their setting. (TES)

Private pupils better placed to get help for special needs. “Higher rates of diagnosis for dyslexia, dyspraxia and mental health problems have pushed the number of special arrangement provisions up by 31 per cent in independent secondary schools over the past three years, compared with 23 per cent in the state sector.” (The Times £)  

Headteachers demand more school cash in letter to Hammond. “Five-thousand headteachers have endorsed a letter to the chancellor to demand more money for schools, warning of deep cuts to resources, soaring class sizes and further “desperate” pleas for cash if the new national funding formula is not reformed.” (The Guardian)


Dan Baynes is Policy and Research Executive for Driver Youth Trust

Dan Baynes, Driver Youth Trust