top of page

(UK) Cambridge MP slams 'systemic' struggle with SPED; 87K increase in SPED

Mar 12, 2024, BBC News: Cambridge MP says school SEND provision issues 'systemic'

SE England

The lack of provision for a growing number of children with special educational needs is a "systemic" issue, an MP said.
Cambridge's Labour MP, Daniel Zeichner, said schools were struggling under the pressure of students with additional needs (SEND), and lack of staff.
He said both financing and staffing needed addressing.

Education Minister David Johnston said there had been a "27% increase in per-head funding" in the county.

He said the increase had been made since 2021/22.

Government figures show that more than 1.5 million pupils in England have special educational needs - an increase of 87,000 from 2022.

Mr Zeichner told the Commons: "I go to schools in my constituency in Cambridge virtually every week and what I'm seeing is more and more schools struggling with the numbers of SEND pupils they have, both in terms of finance and staffing.

"On top of that I see too many of them now literally having to go out and fetch children into school in the morning, and actually having to have social workers based in their schools.

"So this is not about individual schools, it's a systemic problem."

Mr Johnston cited the increase in funding for SEND pupils in Cambridgeshire.

'Shameful failure'

Shadow education minister Helen Hayes said the lack of early education spaces for disabled children was a "shameful failure" for the government. . . . .

"However, last year fewer than one in five local authorities in England reported having sufficient child care places for disabled children. This is a shameful failure."

Mr Johnston responded by saying: "We're reviewing the special educational needs inclusion fund, as we roll out the new entitlements to make sure that that's working appropriately with the new entitlements.

"The other thing we do is we put in place a contractor because there's a statutory duty on local authorities to make sure they have the places for all children including those with special educational needs and they work with local authorities to make sure those will be in place."


bottom of page