Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi has told headteachers that the ongoing SEND review is a high priority.
During a question and answer session at the NAHT school leaders' union conference today, he said he “recognised the urgency” for making system improvements for pupils with special educational needs.
2019: SEND Review launched
SEND support: Review delayed because of Covid
Earlier this year DfE officials declined to provide a date for when they expected the review to be concluded, in response to questions by MPs on the Commons Education Select Committee.
The review was launched amid warnings that the current system is failing to meet the needs of young people.
SEND support: Nadhim Zahawi 'prioritising' improvements
Mr Zahawi was responding to a question from headteacher Roger Blackburn, who asked: “Will the DfE look again at the pressures in real terms that schools are facing, particularly in regard to children with special educational needs and disabilities?
He responded: “You are right to highlight SEND children. It's something that was close to my heart because it was my portfolio when I was in the department five or six years ago.
“Of course, I absolutely recognise the difficult decisions that you have to make on a daily basis to make every pound count and make sure it is used in the best way to support the children.
“Of course, I will be spending a lot of time talking to the NAHT...to monitor and understand, as we come out of the pandemic, any emerging issues around funding.
“My predecessor gave schools the biggest funding boost in a decade, which I hope will give every school more money for every child.
He added: “On SEND and the SEND review, that is a high priority.
"I recognise the urgency for making system improvements and I know the complexities from my time as children’s minister.
“I will continue to listen and I hope those voices coming through from your union and others will help form the basis of our proposals for change.”