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(UK) 8-fold increase in SPED deficit; 'dramatic rise' in number of disabled kids

July 1, 2021, Nursery World: Councils on 'financial cliff edge' due to rising numbers of children needing SEN support https://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/news/article/councils-on-financial-cliff-edge-due-to-rising-numbers-of-children-needing-sen-support

The local authorities have warned they are on a 'financial cliff edge' due to an eight-fold increase in the special educational needs deficit. According to the councils, this is due to a ‘dramatic rise’ in children and young people being eligible for Education, Care and Health Plans (EHCPs). A survey by the County Councils Network (CNN) and the Society of County Treasurers shows that the combined deficit for 40 local authorities has gone up from £134m [$185M] in 2018/19 to a projected £1.3bn [$1.8B] in 2022/23…. Councils have warned that the size of the deficit in two years’ time will be ‘unmanageable’ and extremely difficult to pay off without taking large sums of money earmarked for other council services. CNN is now calling for a substantial injection of funding in the Spending Review so councils can begin to address their deficits and bring them to ‘manageable’ levels. It is also urging the Government to conclude its review of special educational needs services, set-up in 2019. CNN says the review must address the root cause of growing high needs deficits, provide local authorities with the means to start addressing the ‘huge’ shortfalls and focus on preventative services. The Government made an extra £730m available this year for high needs, in addition to a £780m injection last year, but councils used the money to cover pre-existing shortfalls….


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