I want every child to have the best start in life no matter what challenges they face and so it is vital that young people with disabilities can access the services they need for a good education. The system for identifying and meeting the needs of all children with special educational needs and disabilities is designed to deliver the right support where it is needed.
I am encouraged that the Department for Education is investing more than £25 million in projects to help children with special educational needs access excellent support, building on the work of charities such as the National Deaf Children's Society. This is part of the National Sensory Impairment Partnership, which aims to provide a wide range of support to early years, schools and local authorities to help children and young people with sensory impairment.
The high-needs budget for pupils with special educational needs is a record £6 billion. Stockport Council use the local funding formula to estimate the number of children with special educational needs a school is likely to have and they are then required to allocate sufficient funds to schools to enable them to meet the additional cost of pupils with SEN, up to £6,000 per pupil per year. If the additional costs required exceed this amount, the local authorities can allocate top-up funding from its high needs budget.
I welcome the fact that every local authority will see a minimum increase of 0.5 per cent per head in 2018-19 and 1 per cent per head in 2019-20. Furthermore, underfunded local authorities will receive up to 3 per cent per head gains a year for the next two years and overall, local authorities will gain 4.6 per cent on average on their high needs budgets.