Lib Dem MP raises Harrogate SEND issues in Parliament

11 Jan 2024
Munira Wilson MP, Tom Gordon, & Lib Dem activists

Munira Wilson MP, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson, raises Harrogate SEND issues in Parliament

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Education, Munira Wilson MP, has today raised issues with the growing demand and lack of resource for SEND provision following conversations with local educational staff during a visit to Harrogate and Knaresborough. 

Munira Wilson MP visited Coppice Valley Primary School, with Councillor Peter Lacey (Liberal Democrat Councillor for Duchy & Coppice Valley) & Tom Gordon (Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Harrogate & Knaresborough), in October last year. 

Speaking in the backbench business debate on SEND provision and funding, Munira Wilson MP said:

“Too many vulnerable children are not getting the support they need to thrive and achieve their potential, and too many parents are fighting an adversarial system because of the growing demand and lacking of resource. Since 2016 we have seen an upward trend in the number of children with special educational needs, but in the same time period the number of speech and language therapy vacancies have soared."

During the course of the debate Munira spoke about her visit and conversations with staff in Harrogate on SEND. She specifically cited issues that local authorities, like North Yorkshire Council, are facing when it comes to SEND funding, high needs deficits, and even rationing of EHCPs.

Tom Gordon, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Harrogate & Knaresborough, said:

“Every child matters, and they deserve the very best. When it comes to reform on SEND this Conservative Government has been very slow. Delay after delay, not helped by the political chaos and endless chopping and changing of Prime Ministers and Education Ministers.

“The Liberal Democrats have already set out some of our ambitious policies when it comes to SEND, and this is an issue that does keep coming up time and again on the doorstep.

At the Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference in Bournemouth last year the party approved a policy paper which would “give local authorities extra funding to halve the amount that schools pay towards the costs of a child’s additional SEN support, from £6,000 to £3,000, to help to remove the financial disincentive that stops schools from identifying their pupils’ SEND as early as possible”. Furthermore, the same paper talks about “help to end the postcode lottery in SEND provision by establishing a new national body for SEND to fund support for children with very high needs”.

Further details and costings of the policies are expected in the Lib Dems’ general election manifesto.