Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The picture facing schools supporting children with special educational needs is bleak. Not only are school budgets at breaking point, there have been severe cuts to local authority health and social care provision. Schools are left struggling to meet the needs of our most vulnerable pupils.”
A recent NAHT survey of school leaders showed that 94% of respondents are finding it harder to resource the support required to meet the needs of pupils with SEND than they did two years ago. 70% of respondents said this is due to cuts to health and social care budgets; only 2% of respondents said that the top up funding they received was sufficient to meet individual Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) or statements for pupils with SEND.
“One million of the recognised 1.28 million children with SEN do not have any additional funding afforded to them. That means that the financial burden of additional support penalises those mainstream schools that are the most inclusive. Schools are seriously struggling to fund SEN support in the face of crippling budget pressures that sees them forced to cut critical support staff. We urgently need the government to recognise the scale of the problem and to secure an immediate increase in funding from the Treasury.
“However, the education budget was never intended to meet all the needs of pupils with SEND. Local authority budgets have also been severely cut. Currently the ‘health and care’ are missing from children’s Education, Health and Care Plans, with little funding or support from health and social care services. Education cannot do it alone. Schools need the support of specialist services to meet vulnerable children’s needs. The government must provide more funding for health and social care services and local authorities.”
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