Education

29.05.18

Special educational needs funding needs to be more than ‘one-off cash injection’, councillors warn

Children with special educational needs require “significant, on-going and sustainable” funding building on from the government’s £50m pledge announced today, councillors have warned.

The Conservatives announced the boost to create additional school places and up-to-date facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The plans are in addition to the £215m fund announced last year to ensure children with SEND could access a good school place.

The surge in funds could help create around 740 more special school places and provide new specialist facilities to support children with complex needs such as specialist equipment in playgrounds and sensory rooms.

Whilst councillors have welcomed the plans, they have argued the move should be continual and a sustained form of funding to meet rising levels of demand. They are calling for an urgent review of funding to meet the “unprecedented” rise in demand for support for children with SEND.

Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Councils have been clear that there is a need to provide additional and ongoing funding to support children with special educational needs and disabilities so we are pleased that they will receive this additional funding.

“However,” Cllr Watts continued, “this should not be a one-off cash injection and needs to be significant, on-going and sustainable funding, otherwise councils may not be able to meet their statutory duties and many children could miss out on a mainstream education.”

Cllr Watts added that the current school capital funding system is “highly fragmented,” and should be replaced with a single local funding scheme.

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “All parents want to send their child to a good local school, one that meets their individual needs and supports them to achieve their full potential, regardless of the challenges they may face.

“This funding will help to create thousands more school places across the country, with a clear focus on transforming the experience of education for children with special educational needs or disabilities.”

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 Image credit: Steve Debenport

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