William Eichler 04 April 2019

Funding for SEND education ‘nowhere near enough’, think tank says

Cuts to local government and school budgets have resulted in funding for children with special educational needs dropping by 17% per pupil across England, a new study has revealed.

The report, published by the think tank IPPR North, found that the funding cuts had hit SEND education in the north of England the hardest, with cuts of 22% per pupil since 2015.

Funding in absolute terms has increased over the last four years. However, it has not kept up with demand.

Since 2015, Government funding through the ‘High Needs block’ has increased by 11% across England, but demand has increased by 35%, IPPR North found.

Meanwhile, in the North funding has increased by 8% but the number of those eligible for support have increased by 39%.

‘The Chancellor has declared austerity to be “over”, and yet the crisis in funding for schools and colleges is only getting worse,’ said the report’s author, Jack Hunter.

‘Cuts to overall education budgets have left many without the support they need, particularly in the North, and have driven up demand for intensive SEND provision.

‘Despite emergency government funding announced in December, the current funding settlement is nowhere near enough.’

‘This is a moral failure but it is also a failure to recognise the economic benefits of upfront investment in young people’s futures,’ Mr Hunter continued.

‘For example, supporting one person with a learning disability into employment could increase their income by between 55 and 95%, and reduce lifetime costs to the taxpayer by at least £170,000.’

Sarah Longlands, director of IPPR North commented: ‘If we are to build a Northern economy which is truly inclusive, then we must support everyone to participate fully in society.

‘Everyone has the right to a fulfilling and independent life, which is why we are today calling on Government to invest in young people with SEND to ensure our collective wellbeing and a just economy.’

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