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NAHT comments on the Children’s Commissioner’s Vulnerability Report

Today, the Children’s Commissioner for England will recommend billions of additional funding for pupils with additional needs. This echoes NAHT’s Empty Promises report which shows that 94% of schools are finding it harder to resource the support required to meet the needs of pupils with SEND than they did two years ago.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The picture facing children with special educational needs is bleak. Not only are school budgets at breaking point, there have been severe cuts to health and social care provision. Schools are left struggling to meet the needs of our most vulnerable pupils. Without sufficient funding and a more coherent approach, the SEN code of practice is nothing more than an empty promise from government to parents and children.”

NAHT’s Empty Promises report found that:

  • 70% of respondents said that cuts to health and social care budgets were making it harder to support the needs of children with SEND in the last two years.
  • 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.
  • 83% of respondents reported not receiving ANY funding from health and social care budgets to support pupils with statements or EHCPs.
  • 30% of respondents don’t receive services from health and social care to support their pupils.
  • There are long delays for pupils to be assessed – with 15% waiting over 6 months from referral for an EHCP assessment, and 39% waiting over 6 months from referral for an EHCP to be produced.

Mr Whiteman continued: “The education budget was never intended to meet all the needs of pupils with SEND. 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.”

Press and Media contacts:

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

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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