Matt Hancock Portrait

Matt Hancock

Independent - West Suffolk

First elected: 6th May 2010


Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
9th Jul 2018 - 26th Jun 2021
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Jan 2018 - 9th Jul 2018
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Policy)
3rd Jul 2017 - 8th Jan 2018
Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Policy)
15th Jul 2016 - 3rd Jul 2017
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
8th May 2015 - 14th Jul 2016
Minister of State for Portsmouth
15th Jul 2014 - 8th May 2015
Minister of State (Department of Energy and Climate Change)
15th Jul 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
15th Jul 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
7th Oct 2013 - 15th Jul 2014
Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Jointly with the Department for Education)
7th Oct 2013 - 15th Jul 2014
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
6th Sep 2012 - 7th Oct 2013
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education) (Jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)
6th Sep 2012 - 7th Oct 2013
Standards and Privileges
19th Oct 2010 - 12th Dec 2012
Public Accounts Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 12th Nov 2012


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Matt Hancock has voted in 478 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Matt Hancock Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(113 debate interactions)
Jonathan Ashworth (Labour (Co-op))
Shadow Paymaster General
(94 debate interactions)
Jeremy Hunt (Conservative)
Chancellor of the Exchequer
(57 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(2841 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(52 debate contributions)
Department for Business and Trade
(22 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(16 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Coronavirus Act 2020
(4,852 words contributed)
NHS Funding Act 2020
(4,225 words contributed)
Health and Care Act 2022
(2,714 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Matt Hancock's debates

West Suffolk Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petition Debates Contributed

We want the Government to abandon the planned implementation of affordability checks for some people who want to place a bet. We believe such checks – which could include assessing whether people are ‘at risk of harm' based on their postcode or job title – are inappropriate and discriminatory.

The Government should bring forward legislation to allow assisted dying for adults who are terminally ill and have mental capacity. It should be permitted subject to strict upfront safeguards, assessed by two doctors independently, and self-administered by the dying person.


Latest EDMs signed by Matt Hancock

8th January 2024
Matt Hancock signed this EDM on Tuesday 9th January 2024

Sub-postmasters

Tabled by: Kate Osborne (Labour - Jarrow)
That this House notes the increased awareness of the life-changing injustices experienced by sub-postmasters throughout the Horizon scandal; further notes it is now known as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British history; notes with concern that sub-postmasters have served custodial sentences, suffered bankruptcy for offences they did not …
89 signatures
(Most recent: 6 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 42
Scottish National Party: 16
Liberal Democrat: 12
Independent: 8
Democratic Unionist Party: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Alliance: 1
Alba Party: 1
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
11th December 2023
Matt Hancock signed this EDM on Thursday 14th December 2023

Adult literacy

Tabled by: Margaret Greenwood (Labour - Wirral West)
That this House recognises that poor literacy skills and illiteracy can consign adults to insecure and low-paid work, lead to poverty and isolation and leave them vulnerable to exploitation; further recognises that people who struggle to read and write can face difficulty in accessing housing, social security, health and care …
42 signatures
(Most recent: 1 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 30
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Green Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Matt Hancock's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Matt Hancock, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Matt Hancock has not been granted any Urgent Questions

2 Adjournment Debates led by Matt Hancock

Tuesday 21st March 2023
Thursday 23rd September 2021

11 Bills introduced by Matt Hancock


A Bill to confer power to amend or supplement the law relating to human medicines, veterinary medicines and medical devices; make provision about the enforcement of regulations, and the protection of health and safety, in relation to medical devices; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 11th February 2021 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to make provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to individuals; to make provision in connection with the Information Commissioner's functions under certain regulations relating to information; to make provision for a direct marketing code of conduct; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 23rd May 2018 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to amend the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in relation to procedures in accordance with which a person may be deprived of liberty where the person lacks capacity to consent, and for connected purposes

This Bill received Royal Assent on 16th May 2019 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 28th May 2015

This Bill received Royal Assent on 16th March 2016 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to make provision in connection with coronavirus; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 25th March 2020 and was enacted into law.


To make provision regarding the funding of the health service in England in respect of each financial year until the financial year that ends with 31 March 2024.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 16th March 2020 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to Make provision about paying and arranging for healthcare provided outside the United Kingdom and giving effect to healthcare agreements; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 26th March 2019 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to make provision for screening for dyslexia in primary schools; to make provision about teacher training relating to neurodivergent conditions; and for connected purposes

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 2nd December 2022
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require screening for dyslexia in primary schools; to make provision about the teaching and assessment of children found by that screening to have dyslexia; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 7th December 2021
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A bill to amend the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate remote gambling on a point of consumption basis; to require all operators selling into the British market, whether in the United Kingdom or overseas, to hold a Gambling Commission licence to enable them to undertake transactions with British consumers and to advertise in the United Kingdom; to provide that all relevant operators contribute to the Horserace Betting Levy; and for connected purposes

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 25th June 2012

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to amend the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate remote gambling on a point of consumption basis; to require all operators selling into the British market, whether in the United Kingdom or overseas, to hold a Gambling Commission licence to enable them to undertake transactions with British consumers and to advertise in the United Kingdom; to provide that all relevant operators contribute to the Horserace Betting Levy; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 7th February 2012

Latest 50 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of Government procurement is from SMEs.

The government wants small and medium sized enterprises to benefit from central government procurement spend, either directly or indirectly via the supply chain. Reports on this aspiration are published on GOV.UK on an annual basis.

The latest procurement figures for 2019/20 show that £15.5bn was paid to small and medium sized businesses to help deliver vital public services. This figure is a substantial increase of £1.3bn on the previous year and the highest since records began in 2013.

26th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many industry secondees worked in what departments of the Competition and Markets Authority in financial year 2022/23.

In the financial year 2022 to 2023 there were a total of 23 industry secondees working at the Competition and Markets Authority. One was working in Enforcement, nine in the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser and thirteen in Legal Services.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how much funding the Competition and Markets Authority provided to the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum in the 2022-23 financial year.

For the financial year 2022 to 2023, the Competition and Markets Authority provided a contribution of £88,954 to the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, how many Competition and Markets Authority employees were seconded to the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum in the 2022-23 financial year.

In the financial year 2022 to 2023 five employees from the Competition and Markets Authority were seconded to the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum.

Kevin Hollinrake
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
19th Mar 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has made an assessment of the effectiveness of recent global action on reducing levels of methane emissions.

The Government is committed to the Global Methane Pledge, collectively to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030.

COP28 mobilised action, with countries including Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan joining the Pledge. We also welcomed new regulatory initiatives, companies committing to the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter, and the Methane Finance Sprint mobilising funding. The UK committed £2 million to help developing countries address energy-related methane emissions.

The International Energy Agency has recently reported that methane emissions from fossil fuels are set to decline once recent announcements are implemented.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will provide a breakdown of the planned cross-government expenditure from (a) Departments and (b) arms-length bodies on (i) artificial intelligence, (ii) quantum technologies, (iii) engineering biology, (iv) semiconductors and (v) future telecommunications until financial year 2024-25.

The government set out 5 critical technologies in the Science and Technology Framework, committing to develop a cross-government plan to optimise the science and technology system for each. We have publicly set out our approach to each critical technology, including spending commitments, which for most technologies cover figures for all departments. The government has spent over £2.5bn on AI since 2014. Over the next 10 years we have announced £2.5 billion for quantum technologies, up to £1bn on semiconductors and £2bn for engineering biology. The government has initially committed £70m on Future Telecoms by end of FY 2024/2025.

Andrew Griffith
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
5th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether the £20 billion research and development budget previously allocated to the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been allocated to her Department.

The commitment the Government made to spend £20bn on public R&D investment in 2024/25 remains in place and is a cornerstone of our plans to cement the UK’s place as a science and technology superpower.

At the Spending Review, HM Treasury allocated R&D funding across all Government Departments, of which the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) accounted for 71% in 2024/25.

The majority of BEIS R&D funding has been allocated to Department of Science Innovation and Technology, except for policy areas where responsibility sits with another Secretary of State. For example, the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and R&D investment by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority transfers to the Department for Energy and Net Zero.

Budget allocations for the new Departments will be confirmed in the upcoming Main Estimates 2023/24.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department plans to take to support cross government research and development spending.

On March 6th 2023, the Government launched its Science and Technology Framework, setting the government’s Science and Technology agenda up to 2030. This framework, led by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, will challenge all of government to put the UK at the forefront of global science and technology and create a coordinated cross-government approach.

Optimising public and private sector investment in research and development (R&D) is one of the framework’s 10 strands. This includes the Government’s pledge to increase public investment in R&D to £20 billion by 2024/25 - the largest increase in public R&D budget over a Spending Review period.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many former staff from the Departments for (a) Business, Innovation and Skills and (b) Digital, Culture, Media and Sport were moved to her Department.

The Department of Science, Innovation and Technology is completing the transfer of around 935 staff from the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and around 800 staff from the former Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The staff data is live and so this number may move slightly ahead of the legal transfer date which will be in mid-June. This does not include staff from BDUK, who will be transferring sponsorship to DSIT, but not employer.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, with reference to her Department's publication entitled A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation, published on 29 March 2023, what steps her Department plans to take to ensure regulatory frameworks keep pace with (a) emerging AI applications and (b) other technological advancements.

The AI Regulation White Paper proposes a proportionate, collaborative approach to AI regulation, and aims to promote innovation while protecting the UK’s values. Our approach is designed to ensure the Government is able to adapt and respond to the risks and opportunities that emerge as the technology develops at pace.

The Government is also working with international partners to understand emerging technologies and AI trends, while promoting the UK’s values, including through key multilateral fora, such as the OECD, the G7, the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), the Council of Europe, and UNESCO, and through bilateral relationships.

The AI regulation white paper proposes a range of new central functions, including a horizon scanning function intended to support the anticipation assessment of emerging risks. This will complement the existing work undertaken by regulators and other government departments to identify and address risks arising from AI.

As set out in the white paper, the Government will continue to convene a wide range of stakeholders - including frontier researchers from industry - to ensure that we hear the full spectrum of viewpoints.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she is taking steps with stakeholders from the artificial intelligence industry to establish (a) standards and (b) guidelines for the (i) safe and (ii) secure deployment of artificial intelligence technologies.

The AI Regulation White Paper proposes a proportionate, collaborative approach to AI regulation.

The approach set out in the white paper ensures that the full range of tools to support effective governance including technical standards and assurance techniques to support the implementation of the UK’s approach. The Government is actively supporting the development of these tools. The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation is building on the AI Assurance Roadmap to establish an AI Assurance ecosystem in the UK, and the UK AI Standards Hub champions the use of global technical standards. These initiatives include collaboration with industry to showcase how these tools can be applied to real-world use cases to align with the AI regulatory principles.

This collaborative approach is also reflected in the UK’s plans to accelerate the UK’s capability in artificial intelligence. The Foundation Model Taskforce will develop the safe and reliable use of this pivotal artificial intelligence (AI) across the economy, and ensure the UK is globally competitive in this strategic technology.

The UK will continue to take a leading role in international discussions on the responsible and ethical development of AI through multilateral forums such as the OECD, Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), and the G7 where we were particularly pleased to reach an agreement last week that recognised the need for close working on AI – with a focus on Generative AI.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps she is taking to support (a) responsible research and development into and (b) the use of ethical practices on artificial intelligence by industry.

The Government is taking a number of steps to support responsible research and promote ethical practices in the AI industry. The AI Regulation White Paper sets out 5 cross-sector principles which will guide and inform the responsible development of AI. In addition, this Government has allocated £2 million for the development of regulatory sandboxes for businesses to make it easier for them to navigate the regulatory landscape so they can bring innovative products to market whilst doing so in line with our principles

We will also continue to take a leading role in global standards development organisations, such as the ISO and IEC, to develop global AI technical standards that uphold our democratic values. In this context, the AI Standards Hub led by The Alan Turing Institute, in collaboration with the British Standards Institution and the National Physical Laboratory, and supported by the UK Government, will aim to grow the UK’s multi-stakeholder contribution to the development of global AI technical standards.

£8.5 million funding has been made available via the Arts and Humanities Research Council in June 2022 June for ‘Enabling a Responsible AI Ecosystem’, the first major academic research programme on AI ethics and regulation of this scale. This is complemented by the £117 million investment secured this year for new UKRI Centres for Doctoral Training – on top of £100 million for existing Centres funded in 2019 – which include ethics and social responsibility courses for the PhD candidates they train.

Announced in April this year, the Government is also establishing a Foundation Model Taskforce with £100 million start-up funding to ensure sovereign capabilities and broad adoption of safe and reliable foundation models. The Taskforce will focus on opportunities to establish the UK as a world leader in foundation models and their applications across the economy, and acting as a global standard bearer for AI safety.

Finally, Crown Commercial Service’s AI Marketplace dynamic purchase system for public sector procurement of AI, which operationalised the recommendations of the Office for AI’s procurement guidelines, has a baseline ethics standard for suppliers into government.

22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department plans to take steps to help ensure that AI (a) algorithms and (b) systems are transparent, explainable, and free from bias or discrimination.

Our recently published white paper sets out a framework for regulating AI, which is underpinned by five cross-sectoral principles which will inform the responsible development and use of AI. These principles include ‘Appropriate transparency and explainability’ and ‘Fairness’.

As set out in the white paper, our iterative framework aims to ensure that AI systems are appropriately transparent and explainable, allowing for individuals, regulators and organisations to have access to appropriate information about an AI system, as well as to be able to interpret and understand the decision-making processes behind them. Together, appropriate transparency and explainability will help to drive trust and understanding of AI systems.

The white paper is subject to public consultation open until 21 June 2023.

In terms of AI systems used in delivering public services, the Government was one of the first in the world to implement an algorithmic transparency standard for use in public service delivery, allowing public sector organisations to provide clear information about algorithmic tools they use to support decisions, including why they are using them. The Government’s AI procurement guidelines also recommend that systems being procured should undergo an equality impact assessment in order to ensure that AI meets the needs of the diverse society it serves.

21st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Early Language and Support for Every Child pathfinders in partnership are effectively (a) reaching and (b) engaging (i) neurodivergent children and (ii) their families; and what steps she is taking to evaluate the effectiveness of the trials.

As part of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Change Programme, the Early Language Support for Every Child (ELSEC) pilots are testing innovative workforce models. The pilots aim to improve identification and support for children with speech, language and communication needs in early years and primary schools. ELSEC is not designed to identify neurodivergent children, although some of the speech, language and communication needs being addressed are likely to be associated with neurodivergence.

Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS) is a jointly funded programme between NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. It will deploy specialists from both health and education workforces to upskill mainstream primary schools and build their capacity to identify and meet the needs of children with neurodivergent needs. Adopting a whole-school approach, PINS is needs rather than diagnosis-led, and will include children without a formal diagnosis. Individual assessment or intervention or specific diagnostic tools are therefore not part of the programme.

Both programmes aim to intervene at an early stage in the child's education journey. Both will be formally evaluated to provide quantitative and qualitative information on impact. Learning from the programmes will be used to inform future policy development on how services and schools can support children with speech, language and communication needs or who are neurodiverse.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Early Language and Support for Every Child pathfinders in partnership with NHS England effectively evaluate the impact of the programme on (a) neurodivergent children and (b) their families; and what plans she has to use this evidence to inform future (i) policy and (ii) practice in early years education and child development for neurodivergent children.

As part of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Change Programme, the Early Language Support for Every Child (ELSEC) pilots are testing innovative workforce models. The pilots aim to improve identification and support for children with speech, language and communication needs in early years and primary schools. ELSEC is not designed to identify neurodivergent children, although some of the speech, language and communication needs being addressed are likely to be associated with neurodivergence.

Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS) is a jointly funded programme between NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. It will deploy specialists from both health and education workforces to upskill mainstream primary schools and build their capacity to identify and meet the needs of children with neurodivergent needs. Adopting a whole-school approach, PINS is needs rather than diagnosis-led, and will include children without a formal diagnosis. Individual assessment or intervention or specific diagnostic tools are therefore not part of the programme.

Both programmes aim to intervene at an early stage in the child's education journey. Both will be formally evaluated to provide quantitative and qualitative information on impact. Learning from the programmes will be used to inform future policy development on how services and schools can support children with speech, language and communication needs or who are neurodiverse.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when her Department plans to announce the trials that will be conducted as part of the Early Language and Support for Every Child pathfinder to enhance the early identification and support for neurodivergent children in early years settings and primary schools.

As part of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Change Programme, the Early Language Support for Every Child (ELSEC) pilots are testing innovative workforce models. The pilots aim to improve identification and support for children with speech, language and communication needs in early years and primary schools. ELSEC is not designed to identify neurodivergent children, although some of the speech, language and communication needs being addressed are likely to be associated with neurodivergence.

Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS) is a jointly funded programme between NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. It will deploy specialists from both health and education workforces to upskill mainstream primary schools and build their capacity to identify and meet the needs of children with neurodivergent needs. Adopting a whole-school approach, PINS is needs rather than diagnosis-led, and will include children without a formal diagnosis. Individual assessment or intervention or specific diagnostic tools are therefore not part of the programme.

Both programmes aim to intervene at an early stage in the child's education journey. Both will be formally evaluated to provide quantitative and qualitative information on impact. Learning from the programmes will be used to inform future policy development on how services and schools can support children with speech, language and communication needs or who are neurodiverse.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what early identification tools will be used in the Early Language and Support for Every Child pathfinder aimed at improving the identification of neurodivergent children in early years settings and primary schools.

As part of the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Change Programme, the Early Language Support for Every Child (ELSEC) pilots are testing innovative workforce models. The pilots aim to improve identification and support for children with speech, language and communication needs in early years and primary schools. ELSEC is not designed to identify neurodivergent children, although some of the speech, language and communication needs being addressed are likely to be associated with neurodivergence.

Partnerships for Inclusion of Neurodiversity in Schools (PINS) is a jointly funded programme between NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. It will deploy specialists from both health and education workforces to upskill mainstream primary schools and build their capacity to identify and meet the needs of children with neurodivergent needs. Adopting a whole-school approach, PINS is needs rather than diagnosis-led, and will include children without a formal diagnosis. Individual assessment or intervention or specific diagnostic tools are therefore not part of the programme.

Both programmes aim to intervene at an early stage in the child's education journey. Both will be formally evaluated to provide quantitative and qualitative information on impact. Learning from the programmes will be used to inform future policy development on how services and schools can support children with speech, language and communication needs or who are neurodiverse.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help mitigate the potential impact of the delay in finalising the contract with the Nuffield Foundation for the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) project on the (a) implementation and (b) continuity of the NELI programme in schools.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, which is part of the department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s impacts in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, on average, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months. It is rare to see this sort of impact from an educational programme on a national level, and fantastic testament to all those involved in delivering it to children over the last three years.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools, over two thirds of all primaries, have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. The funding for the 2023/24 academic year will be paid according to the grant payment schedule agreed with the Nuffield Foundation. The next payment is due March 2024.

The department took steps to ensure all delivery partners were content to continue delivering the offer whilst the grant arrangements were being made, in order to ensure continuity of the NELI programme in schools. Therefore, there should have been no impact on provision of the offer to schools this academic year.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help increase the take-up of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme by schools in the most disadvantaged areas.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, which is part of the department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s impacts in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made on average the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months. It is rare to see this sort of impact from an educational programme on a national level, which is a fantastic testament to all those involved in delivering it to children over the last three years.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools, over two thirds of all primaries, have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. To promote awareness and encourage uptake, the delivery partner will be engaging all registered schools through a mixture of regular communications, support, and targeted outreach. Furthermore, the department is working with the supplier on steps to engage and promote NELI to all schools this academic year and currently scoping activity for the 2024/25 academic year and beyond.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to provide (a) support and (b) incentives to state schools to use the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, which is part of the department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s impacts in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made on average the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months. It is rare to see this sort of impact from an educational programme on a national level, which is a fantastic testament to all those involved in delivering it to children over the last three years.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools, over two thirds of all primaries, have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. To promote awareness and encourage uptake, the delivery partner will be engaging all registered schools through a mixture of regular communications, support, and targeted outreach. Furthermore, the department is working with the supplier on steps to engage and promote NELI to all schools this academic year and currently scoping activity for the 2024/25 academic year and beyond.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help (a) promote awareness among headteachers and (b) increase the uptake of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, which is part of the department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s impacts in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made on average the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months. It is rare to see this sort of impact from an educational programme on a national level, which is a fantastic testament to all those involved in delivering it to children over the last three years.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools, over two thirds of all primaries, have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. To promote awareness and encourage uptake, the delivery partner will be engaging all registered schools through a mixture of regular communications, support, and targeted outreach. Furthermore, the department is working with the supplier on steps to engage and promote NELI to all schools this academic year and currently scoping activity for the 2024/25 academic year and beyond.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to encourage the adoption of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme in all state schools.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, which is part of the department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s impacts in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made on average the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months. It is rare to see this sort of impact from an educational programme on a national level, which is a fantastic testament to all those involved in delivering it to children over the last three years.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools, over two thirds of all primaries, have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. To promote awareness and encourage uptake, the delivery partner will be engaging all registered schools through a mixture of regular communications, support, and targeted outreach. Furthermore, the department is working with the supplier on steps to engage and promote NELI to all schools this academic year and currently scoping activity for the 2024/25 academic year and beyond.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what examples of successful early identification programmes for neurodivergent conditions she has identified in schools across the country.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive the right support to reach their full potential.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to ensure that a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and provide support where it is needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, the department is implementing teacher training reforms. These reforms are designed to ensure that teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the teaching workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan outlines the department’s vision to improve mainstream education by setting standards for the early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practitioner standards will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practitioner standards will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism. To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24, DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre- and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. However, from 2019, the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November 2023. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that teachers have access to the most up-to-date (a) research and (b) screening tools for identifying neurodivergent conditions in school children.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive the right support to reach their full potential.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to ensure that a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and provide support where it is needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, the department is implementing teacher training reforms. These reforms are designed to ensure that teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the teaching workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan outlines the department’s vision to improve mainstream education by setting standards for the early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practitioner standards will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practitioner standards will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism. To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24, DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre- and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. However, from 2019, the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November 2023. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) guidance and (b) resources her Department provides to schools to support the early identification of neurodivergent conditions.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive the right support to reach their full potential.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to ensure that a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and provide support where it is needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, the department is implementing teacher training reforms. These reforms are designed to ensure that teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the teaching workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan outlines the department’s vision to improve mainstream education by setting standards for the early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practitioner standards will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practitioner standards will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism. To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24, DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre- and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. However, from 2019, the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November 2023. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department takes to collaborate with relevant (a) organisations and (b) experts to increase early identification of neurodivergent conditions.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive the right support to reach their full potential.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to ensure that a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and provide support where it is needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, the department is implementing teacher training reforms. These reforms are designed to ensure that teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the teaching workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan outlines the department’s vision to improve mainstream education by setting standards for the early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practitioner standards will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practitioner standards will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism. To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24, DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre- and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. However, from 2019, the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November 2023. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to increase schools' access to screeners that identify children with neurodivergent conditions.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive the right support to reach their full potential.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to ensure that a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and provide support where it is needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, the department is implementing teacher training reforms. These reforms are designed to ensure that teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the teaching workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan outlines the department’s vision to improve mainstream education by setting standards for the early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practitioner standards will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practitioner standards will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism. To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24, DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre- and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. However, from 2019, the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November 2023. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support the early identification of neurodivergent conditions in students within the education system.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive the right support to reach their full potential.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to ensure that a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and provide support where it is needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, the department is implementing teacher training reforms. These reforms are designed to ensure that teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the teaching workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan outlines the department’s vision to improve mainstream education by setting standards for the early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practitioner standards will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practitioner standards will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism. To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24, DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre- and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. However, from 2019, the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November 2023. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress her Department has made towards strengthening (a) early intervention and (b) support for children with neurodivergent conditions in schools.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive the right support to reach their full potential.

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to ensure that a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, the department expects teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and provide support where it is needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, the department is implementing teacher training reforms. These reforms are designed to ensure that teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the teaching workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan outlines the department’s vision to improve mainstream education by setting standards for the early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practitioner standards will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practitioner standards will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism. To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24, DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre- and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. However, from 2019, the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November 2023. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will publish details of funding allocations for early years identification of neurodivergent conditions.

Funding for the identification of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is a matter for the Department of Health and Social Care, however, the Department for Education provides a variety of funding streams which contribute to supporting early years children with SEND.

High needs funding is increasing by £440 million, or 4.3%, in 2024/25, compared to the high needs funding allocations for 2023/24. The total high needs budget for 2024/25 will be £10.54 billion. Further information on current government funding for high needs can be found in the high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) here: https://skillsfunding.service.gov.uk/view-latest-funding/national-funding-allocations/DSG/2023-to-2024.

The Department offers a range of support for children with SEND. The Disability Access Fund (DAF) allows early years providers to make reasonable adjustments to their setting and to support the needs of DAF eligible children. Providers can receive £828 per year, per eligible child. From September 2023 to March 2024, following the introduction of the Early Years Supplementary Grant (EYSG), the EYSG payable rate for the DAF is an additional £30.92 per eligible child, on top of the current rate of £828. Details of the DAF currently paid to local authorities can be found in the early years block of the DSG here: https://skillsfunding.service.gov.uk/view-latest-funding/national-funding-allocations/DSG/2023-to-2024.

In addition, the Early Years National Funding Formula contains an additional needs element to take account of the number of 3 and 4-year-old children with additional needs in an area. Further, 2-year-old children in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and/or an Education Health and Care plan are also eligible for the 15 hours free childcare entitlement for 2-year-olds.

Local authorities are required to have Special Educational Needs Inclusion Funds (SENIFs) for all 3 and 4-year-olds with Special Educational Needs (SEN) who are taking up the free entitlements. These funds are intended to support local authorities to work with providers to address the needs of individual children with SEN. Earlier this year, the department consulted on extending the requirement to establish SENIFs to all children accessing the entitlements from April 2024 and will be publishing the Government response shortly.

As stated in the SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan, published in March 2023, the department is reviewing the operation of SENIFs and will work with local authorities, providers and stakeholders to understand what improvements would support better outcomes for children with SEND. The department is also reviewing other associated elements of the wider current early years funding system, to ensure early years SEND funding arrangements are appropriate and well-targeted to improve outcomes for all pre-school children with SEND, and also to support the introduction of a national framework for bands and tariffs as per the SEND and AP Improvement Plan. Further information on the SEND and AP Improvement Plan can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/63ff39e6e90e0740de2669fd/SEND_and_alternative_provision_improvement_plan_print_ready.pdf.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to promote the uptake of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme by state primary schools.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, part of the Department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s effects in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, on average, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools (over two thirds of all primaries) have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the Department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. To promote uptake, the delivery partner will be engaging all registered schools through a mixture of regular communications, support, and targeted outreach.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools have signed up to the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme as of 13 October 2023.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, part of the Department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s effects in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, on average, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools (over two thirds of all primaries) have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the Department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. To promote uptake, the delivery partner will be engaging all registered schools through a mixture of regular communications, support, and targeted outreach.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, part of the Department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s effects in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, on average, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools (over two thirds of all primaries) have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the Department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. To promote uptake, the delivery partner will be engaging all registered schools through a mixture of regular communications, support, and targeted outreach.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to increase the reach of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme for the purposes of supporting covid-19 education recovery.

The Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme, part of the Department’s education recovery response, has played an important role in improving children’s language and communication skills following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2023, the Education Endowment Foundation published an independent evaluation of the programme’s effects in 2021/22. This demonstrated that children who received the programme made the equivalent of four months’ progress in language skills, on average, compared to children who did not receive NELI. Pupils eligible for free school meals made additional progress on average of seven months.

Since the programme was launched in 2020, just over 11,100 schools (over two thirds of all primaries) have signed up to deliver NELI. To increase the reach of the programme, the Department has confirmed it will be funding all registered schools to continue delivering the programme in the 2023/24 academic year. To promote uptake, the delivery partner will be engaging all registered schools through a mixture of regular communications, support, and targeted outreach.

13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what data her Department holds on the average age at which neurodivergent conditions are identified among children.

The department does not hold data on the average age children are identified with neurodivergent conditions.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has identified international best practices for replication in England for the purposes of (a) increasing rates of early identification of and (b) strengthening support provided to children with a neurodivergent condition in schools.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, we expect teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and put support in place where needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, we are implementing high-quality teacher training reforms, which begin with initial teacher training and continues throughout their career progression. These reforms are designed to ensure teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the school and further education workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan set out our vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practice guides will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practice guides will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism.

To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24 DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre-and post-diagnostic support and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. From 2019 the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of implementing a universal screener to identify children with neurodivergent conditions in state primary schools.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, we expect teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and put support in place where needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, we are implementing high-quality teacher training reforms, which begin with initial teacher training and continues throughout their career progression. These reforms are designed to ensure teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the school and further education workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan set out our vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practice guides will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practice guides will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism.

To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24 DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre-and post-diagnostic support and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. From 2019 the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government is taking to work with (a) health professionals, (b) local authorities, (c) charities and (d) private sector businesses to ensure that children with neurodivergent conditions are (i) identified and (ii) supported as early as possible in their educational journey.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, we expect teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and put support in place where needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, we are implementing high-quality teacher training reforms, which begin with initial teacher training and continues throughout their career progression. These reforms are designed to ensure teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the school and further education workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan set out our vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practice guides will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practice guides will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism.

To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24 DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre-and post-diagnostic support and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. From 2019 the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress her Department has made on promoting early screening and assessment for neurodivergent conditions.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, we expect teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and put support in place where needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, we are implementing high-quality teacher training reforms, which begin with initial teacher training and continues throughout their career progression. These reforms are designed to ensure teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the school and further education workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan set out our vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practice guides will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practice guides will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism.

To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24 DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre-and post-diagnostic support and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. From 2019 the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the Government is taking steps to ensure that (a) teachers and (b) other education professionals receive training in the early identification of neurodivergent conditions in children.

The department wants all children and young people, no matter what their Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), to be able to reach their full potential and receive the right support to succeed in their education and as they move into adult life. Under the Children and Families Act 2014, mainstream schools and colleges must use their best endeavours to make sure a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs (SEN) gets the special educational provision they need. The SEND Code of Practice is clear that meeting the needs of a child with SEN does not require a diagnostic label or test. Instead, we expect teachers to monitor the progress of all children and young people and put support in place where needed, including arranging diagnostic tests where appropriate.

To support all teachers in meeting these expectations, we are implementing high-quality teacher training reforms, which begin with initial teacher training and continues throughout their career progression. These reforms are designed to ensure teachers have the skills to support all pupils to succeed, including those with SEND. Since 2020, the Initial Teacher Training Core Content Framework (CCF) has included content on adapting teaching to the strengths and needs of all pupils. The department is conducting a review of the CCF and Early Career Framework, which will consider further opportunities to improve how the frameworks support new teachers to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

The department’s Universal Services (US) contract brings together SEND-specific continuous professional development and support for the school and further education workforce to improve outcomes for children and young people. This includes autism awareness training and resources. Over 100,000 professionals have undertaken autism awareness training since the US programme launched.

The 2023 SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan set out our vision to improve mainstream education through setting standards for early and accurate identification of need, and timely access to support to meet those needs. The standards will clarify the types of support that should be ordinarily available in mainstream settings and practice guides will be developed to support frontline professionals. The first three practice guides will be published by the end of 2025 and will include one on autism.

To inform this, analysts and policy officials keep under review all evidence-based good practice, including international evidence.

The 2021 Autism Strategy sets out the government’s ambition to make significant progress on improving early identification, reducing diagnosis waiting times and improving diagnostic pathways for all people, including children and young people. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is taking steps to improve access to assessments for autism. In 2023/24 DHSC allocated £4.2 million to improve services for autistic children and young people including assessments, pre-and post-diagnostic support and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. Additionally, in April 2023, NHS England published a national framework to support the local NHS to commission and deliver autism assessment services for children, young people, and adults.

The department has not undertaken an assessment of the effectiveness of universal screening for neurodivergent conditions. From 2019 the department’s Opportunity Area programme invested £600,000 in a pilot to deliver earlier identification and faster assessment of autism, by connecting teachers and health professionals in schools. The pilot began in Bradford and was subsequently adopted by four other Opportunity Areas. The University of Manchester has been commissioned to evaluate the Early Identification of Autism Projects, and their report is due by the end of November. Bradford’s Centre for Applied Education Research is drawing on the learning from the pilot to build and test a new digital tool to help Key Stage 1 teachers to identify and respond to learning and support needs of neurodivergent children in the classroom.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils in state schools have a specific learning difficulty according to the latest data available.

The Department publishes annual figures on Special Educational Needs (SEN) for pupils in England. The most recent figures are for January 2023 and are available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england. 170,062 pupils at state funded schools in England had a specific learning difficulty as their primary type of SEN out of a total of 1,453,576 pupils with SEN.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she plans to take reduce the number of (a) schools, (b) hospitals and (c) other buildings containing asbestos.

It is the responsibility of those who run schools and who work with their schools day to day to manage the safety and maintenance of their buildings. This includes academy trusts, Local Authorities and voluntary aided school bodies. The Department provides support on a case by case basis if it is alerted to a serious safety issue which responsible bodies cannot manage independently.

The Department takes the issue of asbestos in schools seriously, and is committed to supporting schools, Local Authorities, and academy trusts to fulfil their duty to manage asbestos safely. Well maintained, safe school buildings are a priority for the Government. That is why the Department has allocated over £15 billion for improving school buildings since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed for the 2023/24 financial year. On top of this we are also transforming 500 schools over the next decade through our School Rebuilding Programme. To date the Department has announced 400 schools, with 100 more to come. The Department prioritises schools based on their condition need.

The Department provides detailed guidance for responsible bodies in line with expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE are clear that asbestos-containing materials that are in good condition, well protected either by their position or physical protection, should not usually be worked on, as it is usually safer to manage them in place.

Hospitals are the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care. They state that while much of the NHS estate dates from a time when asbestos was widely used, asbestos is considered safe if it is undisturbed. When building or other work is carried out which would disturb any asbestos, experts are brought in to safely dispose of it. NHS England continues to work with trusts to ensure their estates are a safe environment for patients and staff.

NHS organisations manage their asbestos locally in line with legislation and regulation. Where appropriate, it will be removed. Where work is undertaken on NHS facilities, including new build and refurbishment, the removal and disposal of asbestos will be considered.

NHS trusts have duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. They are committed to the effective management of asbestos containing materials. Responsibilities to contractors and others involved in building and maintenance projects are established through the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and its duties as the ‘Duty Holder’ of Trust owned buildings as defined by Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

Unlike other estates areas of risk, such as, medical gases, there is no NHS specific risk from asbestos. Specific guidance to the NHS is not provided as that from other sources, e.g., HSE, applies without amendment. Where judged safe, asbestos does not need to be removed. Where removal is required, this is a specialist responsibility normally carried out by specialist consultants. The NHS Premises Assurance Model includes a section on managing asbestos in the ‘hard facilities management safety’ section.

All public bodies, including Local Authorities, are responsible for how they manage asbestos in their buildings and are expected to comply with relevant legal requirements. The HSE publishes a range of guidance about working with asbestos and how to comply with relevant legislation. This requires duty holders to assess whether asbestos is present, what condition it is in, and whether it gives rise to a risk of exposure, which is set out under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. Further guidance is available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/index.htm.

Plans to manage the risk associated with asbestos must include removal of the asbestos if it cannot be safely managed where it is located. Removal of asbestos from buildings is already happening across Great Britain through planned refurbishment and demolition with, on average, around 35,000 removals taking place each year. The Government could only advocate a more proactive course of action in this area if there was compelling evidence that the increase in exposure to asbestos workers is justified, in terms of reducing the possible risk to building users.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an estimate of the number of deaf children in England who could potentially benefit from auditory verbal therapy; and if his Department will make an assessment of the (a) accessibility of that therapy to the families of deaf children, (b) educational outcomes for deaf children who have received at least two years of that therapy and (c) potential merits for educational outcomes in England of embedding 300 trained practitioners in that therapy, as recommended by Auditory Verbal UK.

The department does not hold data on the number of deaf children in England who could potentially benefit from Auditory Verbal therapy.

In the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision Green Paper, the Department of Health and Social Care committed to work with Health Education England, NHS England and the Department for Education to build on existing evidence and build a clearer picture of demand for support for children and young people with SEND from the therapy and diagnostic workforce. This will allow workforce planning to focus on the areas of the health workforce that are a priority for meeting the needs of children and young people with SEND.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children in state schools have (a) an EHC plan and (b) SEN but no EHC plan.

In January 2021, there were 325,600 pupils in state schools with an education, health and care (EHC) plan. There were a further 1,083,100 pupils with special educational needs (SEN) but no EHC plan (also referred to as SEN support). The data is published in the ‘Special Educational Needs in England’ National Statistics publication available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england.

8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils in state schools have a specific learning difficulty.

In January 2021, the number of children attending state schools where their primary special educational need was recorded as a specific learning difficulty is 156,797, and those where it was recorded as a secondary need is 27,237.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many pupils in private schools have a specific learning difficulty.

The department does not hold data on the type of special educational need (SEN), including specific learning difficulties, of pupils attending independent schools.

The number of pupils with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan attending independent schools, as of January 2021, was 21,887. The number of pupils with SEN, but with no EHC plan, attending independent schools was 80,386.

4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many schools have signed up to the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme; and what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of that programme.

Since the programme was introduced as part of the department’s education recovery response during the COVID-19 outbreak,11,100 schools (over two thirds of all primaries) have signed up to the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) programme over the academic years 2020/21 and 2021/22. The majority of these schools have free school meal rates above the national average. The full list of schools taking part will be published shortly.

The NELI programme has been extensively trialled, with three randomised control trials demonstrating its effectiveness in raising language and literacy outcomes for reception age children.

The Education Endowment Foundation plans to provide an independent evaluation of the second year of the scale up of the NELI. The research project plans to gather and share useful lessons about the programme itself, as well as broader lessons about offering educational programmes at scale to English schools.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the total number of pupils is in (a) state and (b) private schools; and what the total number of positive assessments for dyslexia is in (a) state and (b) private schools.

The total number of children in state schools is 8,342,521, as of January 2021. The total number of children in independent schools is 569,332, as of January 2021.

The department does not hold the information requested about the number of children with dyslexia in state schools or independent schools. However, state schools report the number of pupils who have a specific learning difficulty, which usually includes dyslexia, as their primary need as being 156,797, and those for whom it is a secondary need as 27,237 pupils.