Weekly political news round up – Friday 24th January 2014

January 24, 2014 in News by Whitehouse

Update on the Children and Families Bill

The period of proceedings for the passage of Children and Families Bill has been extended by 46 days until 21st March 2014. The Bill was first introduced on 4th February 2013, and as set out in Standing Order No. 88, as a carry-over Bill it would have fallen had it not received Royal Assent within 12 months of its First Reading.

No discussions on the Bill have taken place since the 3rd Day of the Report Stage in the Lords on 7th January, except for the tabling of several amendments which were of no relevance for the PCF. The Report stage of the Bill is due to conclude on 29th January 2014, and then must go through Third Reading before the “ping pong” stage where the two Houses agree on the exact wording of the Bill.

Answer to written question on Special Educational Needs

Shadow Children and Families Minister Steve McCabe has received an answer to his written question asking the Education Secretary what measures his Department uses to identify best practice and value for money when collecting data.

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson responded that schools and local authorities were best placed to identify good practice and value for money in making provision for children with special education needs (SEN), guided by the SEN Code of Practice and supported by Departmental initiatives such as the current pathfinder programme following the Sen and disability Green Paper.

He added that SEN data needed to be interpreted with care but indications of local authority good practice can be gained from information which the Department and others collect, such as the number of SEN appeals registered against each local authority, the percentage of SEN statements finalised within statutory time limits, the number of children identified with SEN and provided with SEN statements by local authority and the amount authorities spend on making special educational provision.