***(UK) Hackney Council supports 36% more SPED students than in 2013; $$$ needed

Jan 23, 2019, Hackney Gazette: Extra special needs funding for kids will ‘barely touch surface’ in Hackney Extra funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities will “barely touch the surface”, according to Hackney Council. As part of the government’s bid to alleviate the strain on town hall budgets across the capital, £21million has been awarded to councils to help provide specialist support for SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) children. Once divvied up, Hackney’s share of the extra cash comes to a little over £650,000 each year in 2019-20, an amount that will still leave councillors in the education department with headaches. Thanks to a long term funding freeze, the council has the daunting task of trying to plug a funding gap this year of about £7.7million [$10M US dollars], so it can continue to provide support for SEND kids in Hackney. This is in part down to the government extending the criteria for SEND support in 2014, meaning the council now supports 36 per cent more children and young people than in 2013, and for much longer – until they’re 25 – but didn’t provide councils with the extra funding to pay for it. … Education secretary Damien Hinds has also pledged to create more specialist places in mainstream places, give more special free schools the green light and train more educational psychologists. “We recognise the high needs budget faces significant pressures and this additional investment will help councils to manage them, while being able to invest in more support,” he said. … There will also be an increase in the number of educational psychologists, responsible for assessing children’s needs and providing support.