Children sit with teacher as he reads a story.

Cambridgeshire’s £24m education boost may not be enough for SEND pupils

Cambridgeshire County Council has announced that £24m will be added onto schooling budgets in the upcoming year, owing to extra demand placed on schools during coronavirus, because of added infrastructure despite schools being closed for most pupils for most of the year.

However, although extra funding is welcomed within the education sector, critics warn that £24m may not be enough to meet the deficit that they’re facing, particularly in relation to SEND pupils.

With rising costs, the deficit for provisions for SEND mean that the Council could be facing a £27m deficit, rising the year after to £38m.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Director of Education, Jonathan Lewis, believes that other councils across the country must be facing a similar situation as them, with the Chair of the Education Committee, Conservative Councillor, Simon Bywater, saying that the current standing of educational funding in England is a path to self-destruction.

The funding has received cross-party criticism, with demands for money funding to be made available to offer the services that are required to run a successful education system.

A spokesperson from the Council said: 

"The council has and continues to explore cost-saving measures but reducing funding to some of the most vulnerable young people in the county at the current time is not desirable. In recognition of this at their meeting of 15th January 2021, the Schools Forum did approve a transfer of just over £600k from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block. This is to allow the delay of a proposed consultation on reducing top-up funding to pupils in mainstream schools that need additional support.

“The overall Dedicated Schools Grant is forecast to have a cumulative deficit in the region of £27m+ at the end of the current financial year, up from £16.6m at the end of 2019/20 due to the continuing increase in the number of high needs learners and complexity of need.”

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