ADCS response to new SEND announcements

Commenting on the government’s latest SEND announcement, Matt Dunkley, Chair of the ADCS Resources & Sustainability Policy Committee, said:

“Any additional funding to relieve current pressures on the high needs block is welcome, but the £125m per year on offer falls far short of solving the crisis, let alone the existing and projected funding gap or the raised expectations of parents and carers. The LGA estimates that the total national high needs deficit could pass £500 million by the end of 2018/19 and in many local areas this now presents the single biggest financial risk to both schools and councils.

“Councils are deploying a range of measures to address this overspend, from transferring money from other pots of school funding and utilising reserves but this offers a temporary sticking plaster and is unsustainable. Shrinking school budgets also means they are less able to support children and young people with additional needs in the classroom.

“The 2014 reforms rightly raised expectations and extended support from 0 to 25 years, however, sufficient funding for this was not provided at the time. Capital funding was also overlooked and now reliance on costlier independent provision is placing huge demands on the high needs block. More capital for special free schools will help, but not funding councils to open new special schools when we carry the responsibility for high needs and place planning remains an odd policy position, and a missed opportunity.

“Today’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction but bold action is needed by government in the forthcoming spending review if we are to realise the ambitions that underpinned the SEND reforms and provide the support these children and young people truly deserve.”


Related Articles