West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has challenged the Department for Education over the funding made available to improve Lancashire Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) provision, a year on from the Ofsted inspection that failed the County.   

Following the Ofsted inspection in November 2017, the report released in January this year found a host of failings in SEND provision across Lancashire with both Lancashire County Council and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) heavily criticised.   

Ofsted found failings from local leaders underestimating how far behind they are in implementing reforms and children’s needs not being effectively met to parents across the county facing a postcode lottery in terms of care quality. The quality of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, required for each child and young person to outline their care needs was described as alarmingly poor.   

MP Rosie has regularly met with Lancashire County Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Service since the inspection and supporting parents in West Lancashire experiencing issues with the SEND provision and support.  

Rosie quizzed the Minister, Nadhim Zahawi during Education Questions in Parliament asking his assessment of the progress made since Lancashire submitted its action plan earlier this year, and about what funding is being made available to support this work.   

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said: 
“A year on from a damning report on the Special Educational Needs and Disability provision across Lancashire, I am keeping up the pressure to ensure progress is being made on Lancashire’s Written Statement of Action and children and parents are receiving better SEND provision and support.   

“I am supporting many West Lancashire constituents with their individual SEND cases, but also looking at the bigger picture and ensuring Lancashire improves its overall position and not just dealing with each case as it comes.   

“Many parents tell me that they don’t want other parents to have to go through the stress that they and their children have had to endure.   

“I asked questions of the Education Minister in Parliament to raise awareness of the issue and ensure that Government is adequately funding the local authorities to enable them to implement the improvements required as soon as possible.  

“I was pleased to hear the Minister tell the House that there is new money agreed for high needs funding and will be speaking to Lancashire County Council and Department for Education to see how much of this will come to Lancashire and how Lancashire can use it to improve its service.”

Rosie Cooper, Labour, West Lancashire
What assessment he has made of progress on delivering the actions set out in the written statement of action issued in response to the 2017 inspection of services for children and young people with SEND in Lancashire.  

Nadhim Zahawi, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education
Lancashire produced a written statement of action, which Ofsted has assessed as fit for purpose. Advisers from the Department and NHS England are now monitoring and supporting the implementation of the written statement of action. Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission will revisit the area in early 2020 to assess progress.  

Rosie Cooper, Labour, West Lancashire
Will the Minister indicate what funding is being made available to Lancashire County Council, for example through the high needs block of the dedicated schools grant, to enable it to fix the failings outlined in the Ofsted report, given that Lancashire County Council is already £10 million overspent and it is estimated that there is an overspend in this area of half a billion nationally?  

Nadhim Zahawi, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education
Yesterday, we announced that local authorities will receive an additional £250 million of high needs funding over two years, plus £100 million of capital funding to make more places available. That will take our total spend per annum on high needs funding to over £6 billion. 

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