Mark Whitehead 17 December 2018

Council chiefs call for ‘emergency cash’ to support children with special needs

The Government has announced it will provide £350m to support children with complex needs and disabilities.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said councils will receive an extra £250m over the next two years on top of the £6bn already provided in the budget this year.

He said a further £100m would create more specialist places in mainstream schools, colleges and special schools.

It followed a warning by council leaders that an emergency cash injection was needed to close a potential funding gap of up to £1.6bn over the next two years.

The Local Government Association (LGA) forecast that the current funding deficit could double to £806m next year and could continue to rise.

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said the current system was at a 'tipping point' and the emergency funding was needed just to keep services afloat and cope with unprecedented demand.

Announcing the new money, education secretary Damian Hinds said: 'We recognise that the high needs budget faces significant pressures and this additional investment will help local councils to manage those pressures, whilst being able to invest to provide more support.

'Every school or college should be one for a young person with special educational needs; every teacher should be equipped to teach them, and families need to feel supported.'

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