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Special educational needs and disabilities

The issue

Following the launch of the government’s SEND & AP Improvement Plan, and despite years of compelling evidence, school leaders are now facing a perfect storm of chronically underfunded high-needs budgets and an underinvested system of wider external SEND support, all whilst the numbers of pupils requiring SEND support continues to increase.

NAHT is campaigning for a significant shift from the government’s resource-limited policy approach to a genuine, needs-led SEND system.

There is an urgent need for increased and protected new funding for children with special needs which should be for more than a single financial year, to maximise meaningful support in the longer term.

What we want to see

NAHT is campaigning for:

  • a high-needs funding strategy that ensures long-term sufficiency to properly meet pupils’ needs
  • cancellation of Local Authority high-needs deficits to stop the debt from consuming funding set aside for children and young people with SEND
  • greater consistency in high-needs funding nationally to fully meet SEND provision costs
  • long-term investment in specialist external support services to build capacity and improve speed of access for pupils with SEND
  • an EHCP system that ensures schools do not have to cover the insufficiencies in health and social care capacity.


NAHT is also pressing for wider reform to ensure that education benefits all children and young people.  This includes: 

  • a reformed model of SEN funding for mainstream schools, special schools and alternative provision that provides certainty for a minimum of three years
  • a fundamental review of place-planning, sufficiency of specialist places and admissions to ensure that pupils with SEND are able to attend the school that best meets their long-term needs
  • an improved accountability system that properly recognises and acknowledges the progress that all pupils make, including those with SEND.


Get involved

You can help to make a difference in your local area by making your voice heard within your local authority and with your local MP. 

Below, we have provided resources to help you get involved in the campaign. Get together with other members from your branch or region to take action.

Write a letter to your MP by downloading our guide and template

Hold a roundtable discussion with your MP using our guide and template

Use our slide deck to tell colleagues and peers about NAHT's SEND campaign