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NAHT comments on NAO report into support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities

Responding to a new report published today (Wednesday 11 September) by the National Audit Office (NAO) on support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), 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 and councils are left struggling to meet the needs of our most vulnerable pupils.

“It is clear that the 2014 SEND reforms created unprecedented demand and funding has simply failed to keep up. The government significantly underestimated the cost of implementing these reforms and, as a result, we are now faced with a system in crisis.

“The government announced an additional £700m to support children with special educational needs in their recent spending review, and this money is very welcome. However, to put this figure in context last year the education select committee suggested that the projected deficit in SEND spending is likely to be over £1billion by 2021.

“With the number of pupils identified as having additional needs continuing to rise, funding for both education and health and social care services must keep pace.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

Email: press.office@naht.org.uk