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18.06.18

School cuts coalition blasts education secretary over ‘dangerously inadequate’ SEND funding

Almost 40 local councils alongside trade unions have condemned the education secretary for insufficient funding for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

The School Cuts Coalition, a collective of major trade unions including the National Education Union (NEU), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), Unison, and Unite; as well as 39 local authorities such as Birmingham City Council, Liverpool City Council, and Islington Borough Council; branded the lack of funding from education secretary Damian Hinds as “deeply concerning,” and called for greater funding in the ‘High Needs Block’ funding to local authorities.

“Lack of adequate SEND funding is limiting local authorities’ ability to meet their statutory duties for children living with SEND,” the coalition wrote.

The LGA said last month that SEND funding required “significant, ongoing, and sustainable” funding on top of an initial £50m promise in extra cash announced in May.

It continued: “The government’s recent cash injection for SEND does not introduce any new money into local authority budgets and this will not solve the long term challenges LAs and schools face in delivering effective SEND provision.”

The coalition went on to say that a lack of adequate funding limited local authorities’ abilities to fulfill their duties for children living with SEND. The result has had “far-reaching” consequences, with 2,000 children around the UK identified with special needs receiving no education provision at all.

A localised funding system for SEND that can work and respond to the changing and complex needs of a specific area were amongst the recommendations highlighted by the letter signed by major teaching unions and several city and borough councils.

“The government must commit to working with local authorities and other stakeholders with an interest in SEND in order to achieve this. We urge the government to act quickly on this matter, so that every child with SEND can receive the support they need to thrive,” the letter concluded. 

Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zawahi said: "We want to make sure every child with special educational needs gets the support they rightly deserve. The high needs budget for pupils with SEND is £6bn this year-- the highest on record.

"We are undertaking the biggest special educational needs reforms in a generation, introducing education and health care plans that are tailored to the needs of individuals and put families at the heart of the process," she added.

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Image credit: monkeybusinessimages, iStock images

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