Education Secretary urged to rethink SEND funding

Release Date: 19 June 2018

Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Robin Brown has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP, to call for further funding towards the education of children in the borough with special educational needs (SEND).

In his letter Cllr Brown welcomes the recent announcement that Richmond upon Thames will receive an additional £371,000 to support local schools in accommodating new SEND places, but he makes clear that this neither goes far enough nor provides the ongoing revenue support needed.

The Council has seen a 20% rise in the number of Children who meet the criteria for SEND support over just the last three years. However, despite this, the Government has failed to provide anywhere near sufficient funding to match this increase in demand. As a result, the accumulated funding shortfall has now reached almost £8m. This is an unsustainable position which jeopardises the services the Council provides.

Despite both officers and the previous Cabinet Members meeting and corresponding with the Government repeatedly on this issue, Cllr Brown explains his disappointment that no decisive action has been taken.

Officers are once again meeting with officials from the Department for Education to discuss these issues.

Cllr Brown said:

“The inadequate Government funding of SEND is a hidden crisis in our education system and is threatening the quality of education and support we can offer to our most vulnerable young people.

“Whilst it is encouraging to see the Government recognise the need for increased investment in local education, particularly SEND education, it does not go far enough to address fundamental shortfalls in funding.

“Over a number of years, the cost of providing education for those with high needs has rocketed, whilst overall funding from the Government has failed to keep up. I have requested a meeting with the Secretary of State, where I will urge him to act decisively to ensure these cuts are reversed so that we can continue to provide the education our young people deserve.”

Notes for editors

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Reference: P309/18

Updated: 28 June 2018