SEND support funding gap

The findings, launched at the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester in November, suggest the projected shortfall is £536 million for 2018/19 in England. This is more than double the gap these services faced the previous year as councils struggle to cope with rising demand for support.

The findings are based on a survey of 73 councils – half of local authorities with SEND duties.

The LGA is warning that this growing gap is putting at risk the ability of councils to meet their statutory duties, and that children with SEND could miss out on a mainstream education without urgent action by the Government to provide investment in December’s local government finance settlement. The underfunding of SEND is also adding to the severe pressures already facing schools.

Demand for SEND support is increasing for various reasons, including: population growth;  the code of SEND practice rightly raising expectations of parents; more young people aged 16 and over having education, health and care plans; and core funding pressures on mainstream schools affecting their ability to support pupils with high needs.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “We face a looming crisis in meeting the unprecedented rise in demand for support from children with special educational needs and disabilities.

“Parents rightly expect and aspire to see that their child has the best possible education and receives the best possible support.

“Councils have pulled out all the stops to try to do this, but are reaching the point where the money is simply not there to keep up
with demand.”

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