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Councils in England have urged the education secretary to raise funds for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).
Last May, the Department for Education announced its addition of £50 million to the initial £215 million budget to expand special schools. The budget will be used to create new schools and add specialized amenities like sensory rooms and playgrounds for children with SEND.
Despite this budget increase, many councils believe that the allocated amount is still not enough to cover the needs of the stakeholders. This is because the budget does not address the long-term difficulties of local authorities and schools in providing effective services for children with SEND.
For this reason, 39 local councils and education unions signed a letter last June, asking Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds to increase funding. They also requested for a dynamic and tenable funding system that can address the complex needs of local children with SEND. In addition, the signatories called on the government to work closely with the stakeholders and local authorities to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
The signatories are hoping for a speedy response from the government as local authorities struggle to meet the increasing demands of children with SEND. Bexley in London is a case in point. Its council officers predicted that there will be a budget shortage of over £1 million to fund the needs of children with SEND in the area by next year. This forecast pressures council members to reduce spending without compromising the support required by children with SEND.