Commenting on a report out today (Wednesday 6 May) from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on school provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“The situation for schools supporting children with special educational needs over the last decade has been bleak. Not only have school budgets been decimated, there have been severe cuts to local authority health and social care provision. Even with recent additional funding increases, schools have still been left struggling to meet the needs of the pupils who need the greatest level of support.
“A child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), or official diagnosis of SEND, often requires costly specialist support but more often than not schools do not receive any extra money to meet their needs. Perversely, it is the most inclusive schools that are most severely financially penalised. This situation is not sustainable and is putting enormous pressure on both SEND provision in mainstream settings and special schools with limited places.
“The core education budget was never intended to meet all the needs of pupils with SEND. The ‘health and care’ elements are frequently missing from children’s EHCPs, and financial pressures on both of those sectors means little funding or support is available from health or social care services for children with SEND.
“Education cannot do it alone. Schools need the funded support of specialist services to meet every child’s needs. The government must provide more funding for health and social care services as well as increasing the high needs funding pot.”
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