Specialist workforce for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Parliamentary debate

Teacher with student in a classroom

To inform his Westminster Hall debate on the SEND workforce, Geraint Davies MP asked the public to share their experiences.

He paid tribute to the 1,800 people who responded to the survey:

This page features:

  • A thank you message from the MP
  • Links to watch the full debate and read the transcript
  • Information about the Government's response
  • Links to relevant Parliamentary activity, resources and ways to get involved.
"I want to thank the many parents, SEND practitioners and people with SEND who shared their lived experiences and contributed to this hugely important debate.
"It highlighted that the same concerns are consistent across the UK and were also repeated by MPs representing their constituents in the debate. These included concerns about waiting lists, mis-diagnosis, thresholds to attain support, as well as service provision and implementation.
"Equally, the positive accounts of where children excelled under the careful guidance of SEND specialists further exposes how crucial it is to get the right support to our children. On this point, it was great to see that there was huge consensus across the floor of the debate and I hope the mantra for early intervention was heard by government.
"I truly admire the parents and the specialists who work to ensure that children can better navigate the education system. I’ve asked the government to highlight how they can make changes to how support is delivered so that everyone gets that vital educational support when they need it, and specialists are given appropriate resources and scope to deliver change. I also asked for the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy and other experts to be included in the development of the AP Improvement Plan and further policies. 
"If you haven’t already watched the debate, there’s the link to the recording and the transcript on this page. Please continue to write to your MPs highlighting these important issues. I look forward to continuing to push for better outcomes and futures for our children and young people."
Geraint Davies MP

If you contributed to this exercise, please answer two quick questions about your experience of taking part:

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Parliamentary portrait of Geraint Davies MP

The Government's response

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education, Claire Coutinho MP responded to the debate and addressed the Government’s current policy agenda on the SEND workforce.

Watch or read her full speech for details on a range of topics such as: 

The SEND and alternative provision improvement plan (March 2023), which includes: 

  • Spending of £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to increase specialist school places 
  • Partnering with NHS England to include Early Language and Support for Every Child Pathfinders within a £70 million change programme  
  • Introduction of a new SENDCO NPQ qualification  
  • £21 million funding for training new educational psychologists 
  • Training of 5,000 Early Years Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators 

Read the full plan  

Read the consultation outcome 

Read the press release

  • A review of the Initial Teacher Training and Early Career Frameworks, to include best practice related to autism, mental health and wellbeing and early language
  • Research to develop the evidence base on teaching assistance, including current school approaches, demand, and best practice. 

For an overview of Government policy, see the House of Commons Library research briefing:

Read the debate transcript:

" "

Watch the full debate:


If you contributed to this exercise, please answer two quick questions about your experience of taking part:

Share your feedback

Your feedback

"I found the process easy to navigate and the follow up response was great to see. 
"Thank you for reaching out, I feel that our voice is being heard on behalf of all SEND children and vulnerable adults who don't always have a voice of their own."
Sara, South East
"This is the first time I have received a request to provide experience.
"It has made me feel someone actually cares and is listening - thank you."

How it works

What is a Westminster Hall Debate?

Westminster Hall debates take place in the Grand Committee Room in the House of Commons.

They give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister. 

Debates in Westminster Hall take place on ‘general debate' motions expressed in neutral terms. These motions are worded ‘That this House has considered [a specific matter]'.  This means that Westminster debates don’t end in a vote on a particular action or decision.

How Parliament works: Westminster Hall debates.

How your contributions are shared

In these exercises, members of the public who have signed relevant petitions or are subscribed to parliamentary newsletters are invited to share their experiences and ideas.

These are passed on to the MP leading the debate, who may refer to them directly in their speeches.

Find other petitions on the Petitions website, or see more examples of public contributions being used in debates below

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for latest info on free activities online and around the UK to help you get involved and make a difference. 

What happens next?

If you shared your email in the survey, we’ll send you an update after the debate with links to watch it, read the transcript, and information about the Government's response.

Parliamentary resources and activity

House of Commons Library

Relevant research briefings:

House of Commons Education Committee

Relevant Committee work:

Watch an evidence session with witnesses from Speech and Language UK, Contact and Ambitious about Autism.

" "

The Committee focused on how early years providers are meeting the needs of young children with SEND. Questions were asked on early identification and intervention, parental trust in the sector, training for early-year practitioners and the Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF).

Get involved

Free workshops

Our outreach team can visit you in your community, and deliver free workshops and presentations on how to take action and be heard.

EMPOWER! Workshop for adults with learning disabilities

Other workshops

Relevant learning resources

Learn about how UK Parliament works with six easy reads. These have been created for people with a learning disability. 

UK Parliament Easy Reads

This illustrated booklet contains stories of influential people who have impacted disability related UK laws and equal rights:

Disability History Month illustrated book

This set of videos and learning resources will support students’ thinking around disability legislation:

Your Story, Our History: Disability legislation

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Other ways to get involved

Find out what's on in Parliament, start a petition, contact your MP and more.

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Photo credit: UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor