The government has announced that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or requiring alternative provision in England will benefit from £280m of investment going to councils.
Councils will receive the funding to create new places in schools, academies, colleges and early years settings and will improve existing provision to create modern, fit-for-purpose spaces suited to a wider range of pupil needs.
This could be by contributing to the cost of creating a whole new special school, or by improving accessibility, such as installing ramps, handrails or ceiling hoists.
The funding is part of the government’s commitment to ensure pupils with SEND receive the specialist support they need to get an excellent education.
Commenting, Minister for the School System, Baroness Berridge said: “It is so important that all children and young people, whatever their background, are able to attend a good school that helps them thrive and gives them the building blocks they need to go on to fulfil their potential.
“For pupils with more complex needs or disabilities, it is especially important that the right facilities and support are in place at whatever school they attend, so they can learn in a modern, adaptable environment.
“This funding will help councils provide targeted support to level up outcomes for some of their most vulnerable pupils.”
Minister for Children and Families, Vicky Ford said: “Every child or young person with SEND should go to school feeling confident that they will get the tailored support they need at school and every teacher should be equipped with the right facilities to teach those pupils.
“We have already increased the high needs budget by nearly a quarter over the past two years. This additional investment will enable local authorities to invest more in creating excellent school places or enhancing existing provision so that pupils with additional needs and disabilities get the same opportunities as any other.”
The funding adds to the government’s programme of work to level up outcomes, including the ongoing SEND Review, which is looking at ways to make sure the system is consistent, high-quality and integrated across education, health and care.
The funding, for the 2021-22 financial year, is to support the provision of high needs places needed by September 2022.
Up to an additional £20m will be used to support high needs capital projects in a small number of the local authorities facing the highest dedicated schools grant deficits.