Robert Goodwill is new minister responsible for SEND

News - 28 Jun 2017

Since Edward Timpson lost his seat in the general election earlier this month, he has been replaced as minister for vulnerable children and families by Robert Goodwill.

Edward Timpson was the minister who saw us through the reforms to the SEND system under the Code of Practice (2015), and he was a strong advocate for the sector. However, he lost his seat in the election and so there have had to be some changes in the Department for Education.

It has been decided to combine the position of minister for vulnerable children and families with part of Caroline Dineage's previous position as minister for women, equalities and early years. This makes Robert Goodwill the minister for early years and childcare as well as vulnerable children and families.

This could have some potential benefits, including a more joined-up approach between early years and SEND; if this works well, then it could help to improve the early identification and support of children's needs and may mean that funding is more focused on the crucial early years. However, it does mean that Robert Goodwill has a very large remit, with the danger that SEND is not at the top of the list, especially as the entitlement to 30-hours free childcare comes in this September.

Robert Goodwill's background is in the European parliament, in the Department for Transport and the Home Office. We hope he takes the time and trouble to listen to experts both within and outside of the Department for Education.

In addition, Nick Gibb takes on responsibility for mental health as part of his role as Schools Standards Minister, and Lord John Nash has a wide ranging role which includes responsibility for alternative provision.

So we will wait and see how these new roles develop, and will keep you informed of any developments.

 

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