Hinds asks heads how to solve special-needs budget squeeze

Schools are facing “knock-on pressure” as demand for special-needs support rises, England’s Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, is expected to admit to head teachers later. The BBC reports.

Speaking at the National Association of Head Teachers annual conference, Mr Hinds will ask for their advice on changes to special-needs funding.

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman called the current picture “bleak”. But he added: “The solution is simple – more money from the Treasury.”

Mr Hinds is expected to announce a call for evidence from schools, colleges and local authorities on how special-needs funding in England could become more effective as the needs of children change and the support schools provide becomes more tailored and complex.

“Teachers change lives, we all know this, and nowhere more so than in the incredible work they do to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.”

While welcoming Mr Hinds’s focus on special needs, Mr Whiteman said the 2014 changes had been hard to implement because of the wider squeeze on school budgets.

Last year, NAHT research found heads reporting months of delay in receiving funding, even for children with conditions such as cerebral palsy needing one to one support.

“The picture facing schools supporting children with special education needs is bleak,” said Mr Whiteman.”

The call for evidence will run until 31 July and will considered as part of the chancellor’s review of government spending.

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