Schools funding for SEND children faces multi-million-pound cuts

November 25, 2020 11:59 AM

Funding for school children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) will need to be cut if
the Government fails to address a multi-million-pound gap in funding for the most vulnerable, warns
Daisy Cooper, the MP for St Albans.

In her own county, according to figures supplied by Hertfordshire Schools Forum, the deficit is forecast to rise to
£11 million in 2022-3 and to £19.8 million in 2023-4 for children with 'High Needs'.

Councils across the country are also facing similar deficits for the High Needs block of SEND funding, she points
out in a letter to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families.

"Hertfordshire is grossly underfunded through the High Needs funding formula. Our allocation is one of the lowest
in the country," Daisy tells the minister.

"This is not based on assessment of local need but rather historical expenditure when Hertfordshire spent less on
High Needs in order to delegate as much money as possible to schools.

"As part of the forthcoming Spending Review, the Hertfordshire Schools Forum are therefore calling for additional
High Needs funding to be announced through to March 2024, with money allocated to councils based on an
assessment of local need rather than historical spend."

A number of other education authorities, who have contacted Daisy in her role as Liberal Democrat education
spokesperson, are facing similar challenges but have been offered no solution to funding their deficits in
discussions with the Government.

"They tell me that central government has also said that councils cannot fund the deficit by raising council tax, or
through top‐slicing schools funding. For many councils, the only way left to fund this gap is by cutting the level of
provision to current SEND children," Daisy writes.

"This will obviously store up problems to come, as the more you cut provision for those children, the more likely it
is they will not manage in mainstream school, and will then need a more expensive EHCP [Education Health and
Care Plan] costing more in the longer term."