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More families in need supported by children’s centres

Children’s centres are reaching over 90 per cent of families most in need, new research has revealed – showing that an overwhelming number of families are accessing high quality, targeted services. Minister Elizabeth Truss said “The government’s clear that children’s centres have a vital role to play in making sure families get the help they need by offering a wide range of local, flexible services so they can choose what works best for their family. Today’s evidence shows that centres are doing just that – acting as a valuable lifeline for families up and down the country.”

The report comes as Ofsted is considering how the inspection framework can be changed with the aim of overhauling and modernising the way they look at these centres. There are currently over 3,000 children’s centres open across the country, providing tailored and specialist services for local parents and children, with a further 531 additional premises providing children’s centre services as part of a network. Centres are inspected individually or in small groups, with each centre receiving its own rating on services provided as well as the quality of management. Ofsted is now planning to inspect all the children’s centres in each local authority area together as well as local authority oversight to make sure all children are being supported. It will consult on the new approach later in the year – helping ensure that all centres tailor services that meet the needs of local families.

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SEND implementation grant

On 1 September, local authorities will begin to implement a new system of support for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND).  The government is makingan additional £45.2 million available to local authorities in 2014-2015, and intends to make £31.7 million available in 2015-2016 to meet additional local authority costs incurred in implementing the SEND reforms.

Details of the grant each local authority will receive are available.  The first instalment of the grant will reach local authorities by September 2014.  This new funding is in addition to support already provided including:

  • £70 million SEN reform grant allocated to local authorities in 2014-2015
  • £30 million for independent supporters planned between April 2014 and March 2016
  • the package of support available to local authorities through the SEND pathfinder champions and delivery partners

On 10 June, the DfE published draft transitional arrangements guidance to support local authorities in planning for implementation of the new system.

The government has also today published a new easier-to-read code of practice, which offers practical advice for councils, schools and hospitals to ensure they are providing the new support for these children and young people.

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