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(UK) $5.8B in additional funding for "high needs pupils" needed across England

Jan 7, 2024, Kings Bridge Today: Campaign for fair education funding secures debate in Parliament

SW England

A CAMPAIGN group featuring Devon representatives that is seeking fairer funding for education has secured a debate on the issue in parliament this coming week.

The F40 group, which counts Devon County Council as a member, and whose vice-chair is Devon’s longest-serving MP, Sir Gary Streeter (Conservative, South West Devon), brings together authorities whose per pupil funding is among the worst in England.

The debate, which will take place in the House of Commons on Monday, January 8, comes as Devon is preparing to submit its bid to the government’s safety valve programme, which provides a bail-out for council’s facing steep education-related deficits.

As it stands, Devon is predicted to hit a cumulative deficit in its special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision of roughly £162 million [$206M] by April.

Authorities are currently allowed to keep these deficits off their balance sheets until 2026. This can help councils avoid going bust.

Devon hopes to secure somewhere between £70 million [$89M] to £100 million [$127M] from the safety valve programme, according to comments last November by Angie Sinclair, Devon’s director of finance and public value.

Sir Gary wrote to chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of last year’s autumn statement, urging him to increase funding for higher needs pupils, as well as to provide “substantial additional SEND capital funding” above what had already been promised.

The F40 group predicts that an additional £4.6 billion [$5.8B] in additional funding for high needs pupils is required across England….

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