Inclusive education – Government action
UK Government actions
- In July 2021, the UK Government published its National Disability Strategy, which made commitments to improve the education of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
- In April 2021, the UK Government allocated £280 million to local authorities to deliver new school places and improve existing provision for children with SEND. In July 2021, an increase of £780 million in high-needs funding for 2022–23 was announced, following an increase of £1.5 billion over the previous two years.
- In July 2020, following previous commitments, the UK Government re-announced that over 3,000 extra school places were to be created in special free schools for pupils with complex needs.
- In July 2020, the Department for Education (DfE) commissioned Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to visit areas of England to help improve their SEND systems following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in addition to the current SEND inspection cycle.
- Between March and July 2020, schools were closed due to the pandemic except for limited groups, including children with SEND or with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) who were deemed, on the basis of a risk assessment, to be better supported in schools.
- In March 2020, the Coronavirus Act was passed, introducing powers to alter the delivery of SEND education in England and Wales. In April 2020, the act enabled the UK Government to modify the legal obligation on local authorities and health commissioning bodies to provide the support listed in a child’s EHCP. This meant they were only required to make ‘reasonable endeavours’ to discharge their duty. Although the changes expired in July 2020, the UK Government retains the legal powers to modify this duty, despite the ending of similar powers relating to adult social care. The UK Government has signalled its intention to remove this provision.
- In September 2019, the UK Government announced a major review to improve support for children with SEND in England, which has since been delayed.
Welsh Government actions
Education policy is devolved to the Welsh Government.
- In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, schools in Wales closed and reopened several times between March 2020 and April 2021. They remained open for vulnerable children, including learners with additional learning needs (ALN).
- In February 2021, the Welsh Government announced that the implementation plan for the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018 would commence in September 2021, after implementation was previously delayed. The plan will initially benefit children with ALN in a limited number of nurseries and schools, and children who are detained.
- In February 2021, the Welsh Government announced an additional £9.8 million of funding to support learners with ALN and to remove barriers to education for those affected by the pandemic.
- In January 2021, The Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator Regulations 2020 came into force, prescribing the functions of the ALN coordinator (ALNCo) role, the designation of the ALNCos and the coordination of additional learning provision in schools.
- In July 2020, the Welsh Government announced that 900 staff were to be recruited in schools, creating additional support for disadvantaged and vulnerable learners.
- In its 2020–21 Budget, the Welsh Government committed £8 million additional investment for learners with ALN in schools or further education.
- In March 2018, the Welsh Government updated its guidance on planning to increase access to schools for disabled pupils, which supports local authorities and educational providers to ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
The assessment was made based on the evidence available up to 30/09/2021