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(UK) Kent: 'Massive crisis' $140M overspend in special ed; UK govt bailout

May 2, 2023, Kent Online: Kent County Council in special educational needs provision (SEND) shake-up after government bailout https://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/amp/schools-face-crisis-amid-special-needs-overspend-286102/

A former head teacher has warned of "a massive crisis" in Kent's schools as funding issues look to force a major shake-up in special needs provision.

Kent County Council (KCC) recently had to be bailed out on its special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) budget by the government.

Whitehall has said it will pick up £140m [$176M] of its £147m [$185M] overspend but told the authority it must bring its budgets into line quickly and ordered a major shake-up of where children with SEND are taught.
It will mean it will be far harder for parents to secure a special school place and that many more children with a number of conditions will, instead, be put into mainstream schools.

And while KCC – which was slammed in a recent report by Ofsted for its SEND provision - is vowing those services will be protected from cuts, there is no option open to the authority other than dramatically reducing its spending to prevent the debt from growing, in line with the government’s conditions.

Key to that will be a reduction in the number of pupils securing a place at a private special school - paid for by the taxpayer. These cost the authority, on average, almost £47,000 [$59K] a year per pupil.


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