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Rob Devey
Senior press officer
07970 907730

Email: press.office@naht.org.uk 

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New special schools alone not enough to tackle SEND crisis says NAHT

Responding to the government's announcement of new special schools, Rob Williams, senior policy advisor at school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Today's rehashed news does little to address the dire shortage of places in special schools. 

“The new schools will take time to be built, and won't fix the current huge challenges schools and wider social care and health services are facing when it comes to lack of capacity, funding and staffing.

“The shortage in special school places is leading to some children being inappropriately placed in mainstream settings simply because they have capacity - but they may not have the specialist staff required and do not currently receive the full funding a special school placement would generate, which urgently needs to change

“There is fundamentally a glaring mismatch between the increasing numbers of children with special educational needs and the resources available to ensure they get the support and education they deserve.

“Sadly, the government’s SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan lacks the scale of funding and ambition needed to change this any time soon, and it is vital that the next government tackles this crisis head-on. Without significant investment across the whole system, pupils with SEND will continue to be let down, despite schools’ best efforts.”


First published 09 May 2024