The Guardian reports that children with special educational needs could lose out under government plans for a national funding formula for schools if there is no local input into education funding priorities, councils have warned.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils, says it supports the introduction of a revised formula to address unfairness in the school funding system.
But it warns that setting budgets for England’s 22,000 schools from Whitehall “won’t work”, and calls on the government to allow local authorities a continuing role in local funding decisions in order to protect high needs children.
Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said: “Currently, there is a real fear amongst councils that a strict national funding formula will not reflect local need and that children could potentially miss out on receiving the education they deserve.
“This is particularly concerning for those with special educational needs and disability support as councils will no longer be able to make additional funding available under current plans.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the whole point of having a new national funding formula was to eliminate the postcode lottery that currently determines how funding is allocated to schools.
“Historic variations in the funding level to local authorities from central government, combined with 150 local authorities allocating money in different ways, has led to similar schools in different areas receiving significantly different funding.
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