England Councils Ask for Increased Funding for Children with SEND

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. stakeholder / ˈsteɪkˌhoʊldər / (n) – a person who is concerned, interested, or involved in something

    I need to consult all of the project’s stakeholders before I make a final decision.

  2. tenable / ˈtɛnəbəl / (adj) – can be maintained or sustained

    The business is no longer tenable because its costs are higher than the returns.

  3. fall through the cracks / fɔl θru ðə kræks / (idiom) – to be ignored unintentionally

    The organization aims to ensure that the needs of children do not fall through the cracks.

  4. signatory / ˈsɪgnəˌtori / (n) – an individual signing a formal document

    The petition had over 1,000 signatories.

  5. case in point / keɪs ɪn pɔɪnt / (idiom) – an example of what is being discussed

    A school shutting down is a case in point of how small budgets affect education.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What should funds for children with SEND be used for (e.g. training teachers, hiring counselors)? Discuss.
• Why do you think the government does not allocate enough budget for children with special needs?

Discussion B

• Aside from those already mentioned, in what other ways can the government help children with special needs?
• What other institutions do you think should help children with special needs? Discuss.