‘North suffers most from special educational needs budget cuts’

4 Apr 19
Special educational needs budgets in England have been slashed by an average of 17% since 2015, think-tank analysis has shown.

Special educational needs budgets in England have been slashed by an average of 17% since 2015, think-tank analysis has shown.

The north of England has been hit hardest with cuts of 22% per pupil, according to analysis by the Institute of Public Policy Research out today.

Children with special educational needs receive support through a ‘Education, Health and Care plan. IPPR found that average funding per EHC plan fell from £23,111 in 2015 to just £19,120 in 2018-19.

In the north of England the average money put towards EHC plans dropped from £23,560 to £18,275 in over the same

IPPR’s analysis said that since 2015 government funding through the ‘high needs block’, which funds education of pupils with special educational needs, has increased by 11% but at the same time demand has increased by 35%.

For the north of England the disparity between increased funding and demand is even more stark. Since 2015, funding in the north has increased 8% but the number of those eligible for support have increased by 39%, according to IPPR.

Jack Hunter, report author and research fellow at IPPR North, said: “The chancellor has declared austerity to be ‘over’, and yet the crisis in funding for schools and colleges is only getting worse. Cuts to overall education budgets have left many without the support they need, particularly in the North.

“Despite emergency government funding announced in December, the current funding settlement is nowhere near enough.

“This is a moral failure but it is also a failure to recognise the economic benefits of upfront investment in young people’s futures.”

Hunter said supporting one person with a learning disability into employment could increase their income by up to 95%, and reduce lifetime cost to the taxpayer by at least £170,000.

Average funding allocated to the high needs block grew from £5.6m in 2015-16 to £6.1m in 2018-19. But the number of people eligible rose from 240,000 people to 320,000, over the same period.

Sarah Longlands, director of IPPR North said: “If we are to build a Northern economy which is truly inclusive, then we must support everyone to participate fully in society.

“Everyone has the right to a fulfilling and independent life, which is why we are today calling on government to invest in young people with SEND to ensure our collective wellbeing and a just economy”

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Our ambition for all children, whether or not they have special educational needs and disabilities, is to achieve well in education, go on to college or university, and to live happy and fulfilled lives.

“We have increased high needs funding for children and young people with the most complex SEND from £5 billion in 2013 to more than £6 billion this year. However, we recognise that local authorities have been facing cost pressures on high needs budgets, which is why, in December, we allocated an additional £250 million in high needs funding on top of increases we had already promised. £67.7 million of this funding has been allocated to local authorities in the North.”

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