Mark Whitehead 11 July 2019

Kent CC warns of ‘dire’ £14m SEND deficit

Kent County Council has warned it is facing a 'dire' £14m financial deficit for the cost of special needs education provision.

A report to the council said it currently had a £5.7m shortfall for the sector but forecast it would nearly treble in 12 months.

It is the latest council to warn of financial difficulties. This week East Sussex County Council said it will face a £15m budget gap next year without extra funding, rising to £27m in 2022/23.

The report to Kent County Council says the problem is part of a national trend which has seen 74% of the UK’s local authorities facing a deficit from the central Government schools grant.

During a scrutiny committee meeting Swale councillor Andy Booth said: 'Nationally it is appalling and for Kent, I would suggest it is dire.'

The deficit increase has been caused by a growth in demand for special education provision and reduced parental confidence in special education provision provided by mainstream secondary schools, the committee heard.

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