(UK) Cambridgeshire: "No funding to meet increasing number/complexity of high needs pupils"

Nov 25, 2019, Hunts Post: County council reveals shortfall in funding for high needs education in Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire’s overspending on high needs education has increased more than fivefold in three years according to the county council. The situation means some of Cambridgeshire's schools face making cuts and potentially even redundancies as the county council looks to transfer funds between budgets to meet the shortfall…. Funding for schools is set to increase nationally, including in Cambridgeshire, but a council report on the high needs education budget says funding is not keeping pace with the rising pressures. The county council is expecting Cambridgeshire's 2020/21 high needs funding from Government to increase by about 8.4 per cent compared to this year, but a council report to the schools forum on November 8 said it "simply isn't enough" and is not matching the growth in demand or "higher expectations"…. The council says 70 per cent of the high needs block is spent in Cambridgeshire schools. The council issued a consultation on the proposals to Cambridgeshire's schools earlier this month and is seeking an endorsement from the school's forum, but the decision will ultimately be taken by councillors on the county's children and young people committee. At the most recent meeting of the schools forum on November 8, Dr Kim Taylor, head teacher at Spring Common Academy in Huntingdon, said: "The high needs block needs to be the main focus. We do know if we don't invest in our children at a younger age then it's going to cost you even more as adult services and the life-long cost and the life-long impact on that person is considerable. … "The upshot is there isn't enough money there, so I don't see how we come out of this without services to our most vulnerable children being cut to some extent." If the council does go ahead, that transfer of funds will only help meet existing and forecast cost pressures, and will still leave a £16.2m [$21M US] cumulative deficit on the dedicated schools grant, which the consultation says will need to be repaid with further savings…. The council report says "there is no funding to meet the increasing number and complexity of high needs pupils. To the contrary significant savings need to be delivered". The high needs budget has moved from an overspend of £1.3m $1.7M US] in 2015/16 to £8.8m [$11M US] just three years later….