Policy Update, Nov 27

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

Good morning, today marked the first of BBC Breakfast’s focus on SEND something we are incredibly glad to see national coverage on, see how to watch and contribute to the series below. Elsewhere, we have been taking a closer look at the budget, which has been welcomed as a mixed bag for the education sector,  more on what he did announce can be found below!    

What does the Budget mean for education?

Philip Hammond proclaimed he would “build a Britain fit for the future” in last Wednesday’s Budget announcement. In reality, the context of a sluggish, slower-growing economy due to Brexit uncertainty meant that it was a “no drama” affair with little new spending commitments made by the Chancellor.  For a budget that was focused on the future, education was surprisingly missing from the core of Hammond’s pitch, schools are mentioned a mere eight times in the Budget.

The focus by the HM Treasury is on maths and computer science. The main announcement is that schools will get £600 for every extra pupil who takes A level or Core maths. There will be £27 million to “help improve how maths is taught in 3,000 schools” and £49 million will go towards helping students resitting GCSE maths.

The number of fully-qualified computer science teachers will also rise from 4,000 to 12,000. The government will invest £100 million to create a new National Centre for Computing.

Elsewhere, a £42 million investment to pilot a Teacher Development Premium will test the impact of a £1,000 budget for high-quality professional development for teachers working in areas that have fallen behind.

As has been the approach of the May government thus far, the Budget commits to small specialist measures to boost school improvement but can be criticised for failing to deal with the underlying issues such as teacher retainment and school funding.

Tes reports that the education budget’s share of public spending set to fall for a fifth year running.

New EPI research: How many children have SEND? 

The Education Policy Institute will investigate how the system for identifying children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) works in England.

The project funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the preliminary findings show that 4 in 10 children will be identified as having a special educational need or disability at some stage during their time at school.   

Read more about the research here.

Written Questions on SEND 

  • Stephanie Peacock MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if her Department will continue to fund the Autism Education Trust to help ensure that teachers in England can access training in autism as part of their continuous professional development. (Read answer)
  • Darren Jones MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on what basis journalists can access identifying and sensitive health data about children’s special educational needs from the national pupil database; and if she will make a statement. (Read answer)
  • Jo Platt MP: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance or advice her Department provides in relation to autism and SEND training for non-teaching, school-based staff and school governors. (Read answer)


House of Lords, after 2:30pm 

Lord Watson leads a debate on a “comprehensive strategy for life-long learning and adult re-skilling in response to the changing nature of work.”


Education Committee, 10am

Oral evidence on the integrity of public examinations.

House of Commons, 12:25pm 

Conclusion of the Budget Debate – will include discussion of future education infrastructure funding.

House of Lords, 2:30pm 

Oral questions of note:

  • Improving initial teacher education in order to ensure a high standard of teaching of art, craft and design subjects.
  • Addressing the concerns of the Care Quality Commission in its review of the particular difficulties faced by children and vulnerable young people in accessing mental health care.


Westminster Hall, 4pm 

Lib Dem education spokesperson Layla Moran is leading on access to sanitary products and campaigning for free provision in schools. Moran has raised concerns that many students miss school because they don’t have access to sanitary products.

House of Lords, 3pm 

Short debate on how to achieve high quality early years education.


House of Commons, after 11am 

The SNP’s Dr Lisa Cameron leads a backbench debate in the main chamber on mental health and suicide within the autism community. Cameron has called on the Government to ensure NHS England works closely with the autism community to develop effective and research-based mental health pathways.

Westminster Hall, 1:30pm 

Jim Fitzpatrick MP raises the issue of deafness and hearing loss.

BBC Breakfast coverage – #BBCsend 

BBC Breakfast is focusing on SEND issues this week, beginning today by looking at the rise of SEND learners being home educated. You can contribute to the series using #BBCsend  on twitter.

APPG on Dyslexia – Wednesday 29th November, 1.15-2.30pm, in Committee Room 15

The first meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dyslexia and Other Specific Learning Difficulties in the 2017 Parliament is taking place this Wednesday.

DYT will be presenting on the impact of Primary Assessment and specialist support concerns, if you have anything you would like to contribute to this please email daniel.baynes@driveryouthtrust.com  

  • What does the industrial strategy mean for schools? (Schools Week)

  • Inside a new school for children with special educational needs (BBC news)

  • Top children’s authors demand Justine Greening step in to save school libraries (TES)

Dan Baynes is Policy and Research Executive for Driver Youth Trust

Dan Baynes, Driver Youth Trust