Early years support for deaf children

This is an issue I know Ministers are aware of.

I think the new SEN systems are an important step towards delivering joined-up support for children with SEN. These are the biggest reforms in a generation, and I know Ministers are committed to making sure they work so that they transform the support these children receive. Over £70 million has been invested to cover the costs of moving to this new system.

It is important to note that the transition from SEN statements to new EHC plans is an ongoing process. While all new assessments of SEN will fall under the new system, young people with existing statements are only gradually having transition reviews to move over to the new system. This means that many parents of deaf children will have seen no change over the first year. All transition reviews have to be undertaken by April 2018 at the latest, and SEN statements remain valid until the review.

In addition to money, the Department for Education is also providing specialist support from a team of SEN and Disability Advisers, and also nine regional lead authorities and a consortium including the Council for Disabled Children and the National Development Team for Inclusion.  There is also support for Independent Supporters and Parent Carer Forums.

Aside from EHC plans themselves, the Government is also providing £450,000 of funding this year to the National Sensory Impairment Partnership to support local authorities in their work with children with sensory impairments.

There is, of course, always more to do to ensure that every child, regardless of circumstance, can receive the education they deserve. I know this is a priority for Ministers.