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(UK) Havering: Council faces $6.4M SPED overspend in schools

June 20, 2021, Huntingdon Yellow Advertiser: Havering schools count the cost of special needs inclusion https://www.yellowad.co.uk/havering-schools-count-the-cost-of-special-needs-inclusion/

E. London Havering schools that accept children with special needs are finding “inclusion does not pay”, the Havering Schools Funding Forum heard today. The council’s budget for schools began this financial year with a £1.6 million deficit, despite underspending in many areas, due to a £4.6 million [$6.4M U.S.] overspend on children with special needs. At a forum meeting this morning, council officers said they were lobbying the Department of Education to increase funding and prevent money troubles becoming “a barrier to inclusion”. A total of 11 Havering schools have budget gaps and one headteacher suggested there was a correlation between these gaps and the number of special needs children they teach…. Responding to a comment that financial pressure “is becoming or possibly could become” a barrier to accepting special needs children, St Edward’s Primary headteacher Chris Speller said that he believes it already is. He told the forum: “I would be interested to see the number of schools unable to set a balanced budget and whether those schools have high numbers of (special needs) children, I think there’s a correlation.” Suttons Primary School headteacher David Unwin-Bailey agreed, noting that the lack of funding to support his school’s pupils with special needs “takes away money” from other children…. Havering Council plans to give five schools almost £2 million [$2.8M] to educate 208 children with special needs this financial year. Of this figure, more than £1.5 million [$2M] will go to Corbets Tey School, a special school in Upminster with more than 150 pupils ranging from four to 19 years old.


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