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(UK) Aylesbury: MP want MORE SPED funding to meet increasing demand

Jan 18, 2024, Bucks Herald: Aylesbury MP calls for more funding for special needs children Ofsted was highly critical of SEND services in Buckinghamshire in 2022

SE England

Aylesbury’s MP has called on the Government to release extra funding to improve services for children with special education needs.

Rob Butler highlighted complaints he has received from parents about the difficulties of securing Educational and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) at the House of Commons on Tuesday (16 January).

He said: “Too often, the families of the children with SEND feel that they are being left to fight a ferociously complicated system to get their child into special schools and ensure that they have the support they need. The team at Buckinghamshire Council and I have discussed those concerns to try to find ways to help, but it is no surprise that the council has highlighted funding as a major challenge.

"The cost of SEND education can be exceptionally high, and it is not unusual for the cost of residential placements for children with the most complex and serious needs to run to hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

“Locally, since 2016, there has been a 101% increase in requests for EHCPs.
Since 2020, the unit costs for children’s placements have increased by 30%.
As a result, Bucks Council is looking at bringing some provision in-house to try to contain some of the costs, but that cannot happen overnight. In the meantime, it must try to find the extra money.”

A statement of action was sent to Bucks Council by Ofsted in 2022 demanding the authority do more to regain families’ confidence in its SEND services. Ofsted found that some issues such as children waiting too long to see a paediatrician predated Covid.

Mr Butler added: “The SEND Green Paper and the SEND and alternative provision improvement plan, published in March 2023, made clear the need to update the funding model. The Government are not ignorant to this, and I am pleased with their direction of travel. I am also pleased that £10 billion [$13B] of high-needs funding has been allocated for the coming financial year, representing a cash-terms increase of 12%.


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