SEND funding crisis ‘close to risking school safety’

According to TES, heads are warning that cuts to special needs funding are on the verge of putting the safety of pupils and staff at risk.

The message comes as more than 100 school leaders, teachers and governors gather for a special summit on the crisis in funding for children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) today.

The NAHT heads’ union, which is organising the event, has gathered evidence that paints a grim picture. One special school leader warned: “It’s getting perilously close to risk assessment and safety issues if staffing continues to be cut.”

NAHT research has found that 94 per cent of schools are finding it harder to get funding for pupils with SEND than they did two years ago.

A budget squeeze has left schools scrambling to fund the extra 30,000 SEND pupils with a statement or Education Health and Care (EHC) plan in the education system in the past five years.

Councils are facing legal action over cuts to funding for pupils with SEND, which covers everything from dyslexia and learning difficulties to physical disabilities and autism.

Data from 90 councils collated by Tes has revealed that state funding of places in independent special schools rose 40 per cent in five years to more than £565 million.

“The picture facing schools supporting children with special educational needs is bleak,” Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said.

Read more about the SEND funding crisis here: SEND funding crisis ‘close to risking school safety’

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