top of page

(UK) $1.6B special ed deficit across England

Jun 13, 2022, Lynn News: King's Lynn man reveals his special needs son has had six different schools in West Norfolk after research shows SEND children have to travel for schooling

E. England

A man speaks about the difficulties of finding SEND schools in West Norfolk for his 15-year-old son.

Recent studies have revealed that SEND(special educational needs and disabilities) children in the West Norfolk area have been travelling as far as Devon for schooling.

New data has found that some 33 SEND pupils leave Norfolk and travel more than 20 miles to go to a school that can cater for their needs.

At least two of that number travel almost 300 miles from Downham Market to Devon.
Kane, 16, has ADHD and his family has struggled to find him suitable schooling in the area (57271392)

Others travel to Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, Halesowen in the West Midlands and Frome in Somerset – with he furthest arrangements being residential and not requiring daily commuting....

But the county council insisted it was committed to delivering “the best possible education” to young people with SEND.

The data, sourced by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), shows how councils across England are continuing to grapple with a black hole in funding for the rising numbers of children who need extra help.

One family has spoken about their own difficulties in catering to their SEND relative's needs in the county. Although they haven't had to travel far outside of Norfolk, the family has struggled to find a permanent placement and the correct support. They say "Norfolk needs to pull it's finger out when it comes to SEND"....

A Hillcrest parent who has a daughter with special needs at the school has said: "I don't know about back then, but they've been very supportive of my daughter who has complex needs, luckily I haven't had to look elsewhere.

"I know people have struggled, as schools weren't as understanding of ADHD and autism as they are now. Those children were just described as 'naughty' several years ago."...
TBIJ’s investigation has found the special needs deficit across England has reached at least £1.3bn [$1.6B]— an increase of around £450m [$546M] in the last year alone.
With a projected overall deficit of £51.8m [$62.9M]– including a forecast increase of around £20m [$24M] in the last year – Norfolk is among the worst affected authorities in England. Only Kent, Surrey, Devon and Hampshire have bigger deficits.
Nansa chief executive Mr Smith said the investigation’s findings: "Unfortunately highlight what we see on a daily basis; the demand for SEND provision in Norfolk far exceeds the support available”....
“There are some exceptional examples of SEND provision across our county, but most must tackle increasingly difficult waiting lists....

Some 471 SEND children in Norfolk travel out of the county to go to school, but 438 of that number have a journey of less than 20 miles, suggesting that most of them go to schools in neighbouring Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.


bottom of page