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(UK) Gloucester: County faces $5M high needs deficit in budget; kids without special school places

June 20, 2021, BBC News: Gloucestershire Schools Forum in plea for extra funding for high-need pupils https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-57546247

SW England Education leaders want to see an extra £523,000 [$722K U.S.] going into high-needs education for children and young adults this year. Gloucestershire Schools Forum advises Gloucestershire County Council on school funding decisions. Forum members called for a 2% increase in the top-up fund instead of a recommended budget freeze…. The high needs education fund supports teaching from early years up to 25 years old, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. During the online meeting on Thursday, children's services director Chris Spencer said it was a tricky situation and they were not unsympathetic to the schools forum's case. In 2020-21 the county council set a deficit budget of £5,449,200, improving on this position by £330,000 in the year which led to a final overspend of £5,119,200. The council had proposed a high needs deficit of £3,570,000 [$5M U.S.] for the current financial year…. Sands Academy Trust chief executive officer Lyn Dance said schools were being asked to cope with much more complex children without an increase in funding. "It seems morally wrong to me," she said. "There's a big number of children who need a special school place and there aren't any available. "So those mainstream schools are dealing with children who really should be in the special schools and they are not getting that extra support that they deserve and need." Education strategy and development head Philip Haslet said the deficit was a situation affecting many local authorities across the country.


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