MPs join Council’s calls for Special Needs Education crisis to be addressed

Release Date: 28 January 2019

The Government’s ongoing chronic underfunding of special needs education has created a crisis which children, parents, schools and local authorities have been left to deal with.

In a letter sent to the Secretary of States for Education and for Housing, Communities & Local Government, a cross-party group of eight South London MPs (including Sir Vince Cable MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, and Sarah Jones MP) has added to calls, made by Richmond Council over a number of months, to address the funding gap.

The signatories have told the Government

“We have seen in recent days the announcement of both the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement and the Education Secretary’s additional funding for SEND.

“Whilst any improvement is no doubt welcome to hard-pressed Councils, the SEND funding announcement is not nearly sufficient to address current funding shortfalls let alone projected deficits. We are writing to ask you to take urgent action to address the situation to protect critical local services that residents rely on.”

Cllr Robin Brown, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance has been lobbying MPs for support and added:

“We have been telling the Government for a number of months about the crisis created in special needs education due to their chronic underfunding.

“With the number of children needing an Education and Healthcare Plan has growing by over 20 per cent since 2016, the Government’s funding offer is putting our services under ever increasing strain.

“I hope that the Government will listen to the growing number of people telling them about this crisis and take action to ensure our children continue to receive the level of educational support they need.”

Read the full letter (pdf, 168 KB).

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Lyle Skipsey on 020 8487 5182.

Reference: P025/19

Updated: 1 February 2019