Today the Department for Education (DfE) is announcing an additional £125 million of high needs funding to pay for more teaching and other support for children and young people with more complex special educational needs. There’s also the promise of extra capital funding and new research to assess the value for money of SEND provision in England.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This is a positive move from the DfE and should be welcomed.
“NAHT has been consistently campaigning to improve funding in schools. Whilst the money in question isn’t enough to fix the crisis in funding for children with special educational needs, it is a step in the right direction. It means that NAHT and other campaigners are being heard and that some of the findings of our Empty Promises report published earlier this year have been acknowledged.
“Back in September, Empty Promises reported that only 2% of schools found that the top up funding they received was sufficient to meet individual education health and care plans (EHCPs) or statements for pupils with SEND. NAHT’s report made six recommendations including a full review by the DfE of current and future demand for high needs funding to support pupils with SEND and secure an immediate increase in funding from the Treasury.
"Today’s announcement means that the DfE is now publicly acknowledging that the burden of SEND support sits unduly on education in the absence of funded support from local authorities, and that the situation facing schools is unsustainable. And, crucially, recognising that the requirement for schools to fund the first £6,000 of an EHCP unfairly penalises those schools that are the most inclusive. The next step must now be for the DfE to build a case for more money from Treasury.
“On its own this extra funding is not enough. But we congratulate the Secretary of State, on finding some spare cash at the end of the year, for recognising that it should go to the most vulnerable and the most in need in our school system, and for committing to more research and a more strategic approach to SEND funding in the future."
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