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(UK) Cost of SPED puts 'severe pressure' on council budgets

Oct 21, 2019, Manchester Evening News: Wigan council 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' in struggle to fund specialist education https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/wigan-council-robbing-peter-pay-17120862 Cash-strapped Wigan schools will have to find even more money to fund specialist education amid surging demand – but council chiefs say it's 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'. Special educational needs and disability (SEND) education across the UK will benefit from an extra £700 million [$900M US] from the government next year, with Wigan expected to get £4.7 million [$6M US]. But headteachers of primary and secondary schools in the borough have been told the money will simply balance the books for a year, and that £750,000 will be cut from their budgets… “At the moment we're robbing Peter to pay Paul. It will take significantly more investment to change SEND provision, and we need to get fairer funding.” The cost of delivering SEND education is putting 'severe pressure' on council budgets, with some authorities resorting to moving funds out of mainstream school budgets. Authorities in Greater Manchester are expected to collectively overspend their high needs budgets by £76 million [$99M US] at the end of the year, despite £17 million being cut from schools. There are numerous costs to providing SEND education including independent placements, which have increased in number and cost in the current academic year. …