top of page

(UK) 97% of schools can't pay for SPED; "more children with complex needs"

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

Sept 7, 2021, Guardian: Schools in England forced to cut support for special needs pupils

Cash-strapped schools in England have been forced to cut support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) after nearly a third of headteachers said they were forced to slash their budgets last year, a survey reveals. Nearly all the school leaders polled (97%) said that funding for Send pupils was insufficient, and 95% said funding was also insufficient for those on education, health and care plans with greater needs, in response to a survey by the school leaders’ union, the National Association of Head Teachers…. One headteacher of a primary school in Staffordshire said that in determining how much support should be available for Send pupils, she had to “balance the needs of one child against the needs of a class of children”, a calculation that is becoming increasingly difficult as more children with complex needs became entitled to additional support after reforms in 2014. Almost a third of the 1,500 heads in England who responded to the survey said they had been forced to slash their overall budgets in 2020-21, with 35% saying they would make further cuts this academic year. One in four predicted their budget would be in deficit in 2021-22…. The NAHT general secretary, Paul Whiteman, said: “The crisis in funding for pupils with special educational needs is clear for all to see and is putting significant pressure on school budgets.”…

...“The increased demand and lack of funding created a huge gap between the provision schools were expected to make and the resources they receive,” he said. He added: “The government has acknowledged there is a real crisis when it comes to Send funding and a review is under way, but currently we have seen little sign of progress.”… A Department for Education spokesperson said: “This government is providing the biggest uplift to school funding in a decade – £14bn in total over the three years to 2022-23. This is a £7.1bn increase in funding for schools compared to 2019-20 funding levels. “Next year, funding is increasing by 3.2% overall and by 9.6% in 2022-23 for high needs. The National Funding Formula continues to distribute this fairly, based on the needs of schools and their pupil cohorts.”


bottom of page