Today (Wednesday 23 October 2019) sees the publication of the first report by the Education Select Committee on special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said: “We have been warning for a long time that the picture facing schools supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities is unsustainable. Not only are budgets at breaking point, there have been severe cuts to local authority health and social care provision. Schools and councils have been left struggling to meet the needs of our most vulnerable pupils.
“The government announced an additional £700m to support children with special educational needs in their recent spending review, and this money is vital. The overall funding crisis cannot be solved without getting to grips with support for pupils with SEND. But even this figure falls significantly short of what is needed.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). And the cost of supporting them is still growing. The 2014 SEND reforms enabled better recognition and clearer identification of the support each child needs from education, health and social care but the government significantly underestimated the demand for and cost of implementing these changes.
“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. Far more specialist provision is needed in the form of external services, specialist support in mainstream schools and additional special school places. Until the SEND system is fixed, the wider school system will remain in crisis.”
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NAHT Head of Press and Media
Senior Press Officer