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16.04.19

SEND funding cut by more than £1bn as nine in 10 councils hit ‘massive funding shortfall’

Councils have seen a £1.2bn drop in real-terms funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) over the last four years as the Nation Education Union (NEU) warns that local authorities have reached “crisis point.”

Nine of out 10 councils face shortfalls of thousands of pounds and do not have enough money to provide adequate resources for the SEND provision in schools because government funding fails to keep up with growing demand.

The number of children and young people granted an Educational Health Care Plan has risen from 240,000 to 320,000 since 2010, but despite the 33% increase in demand the NEU has calculated that funding has only increased by 6%.

The union said this had created a “massive funding shortfall” for 93% of England’s local authorities, and called it an “appalling way to be addressing the education of some of our most vulnerable children and young people.”

The join secretary of the NEU, Kevin Courtney, said this is “causing untold misery and worry for thousands of families.”

“The funding shortfall for SEND provision comes against the backdrop of the swingeing cuts to local authority budgets imposed by the Westminster Government over the last nine years which have left many councils on the brink.”

Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, commented: “The Tories’ cuts to education have disproportionately hit children with special educational needs.

“It is devastating that, as a result, some of the most vulnerable children are being forced out of school altogether.”

This is not the first time the government has come under criticism for its SEND funding, with councils and unions last year condemning the education secretary for insufficient funding and in December last year families in Bristol launched a High Court challenge against the government’s special needs cuts.

Image credit - seb_ra

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