(UK) Leicestershire SPED students costing enormous sums;

Feb 2, 2020, Leicestershire Live: The staggering sum one Leicestershire child’s education package is costing the county council One Leicestershire child’s education is costing taxpayers £500,000 [$660K US] a year. The cost of the pupil’s package, provided as a result of an education, health and care plan (EHCP), has to be met by the local authority after a tribunal to challenge it failed. There are four other children in the county, each with an EHCP totalling more than £250,000 [$330K US] per year each. The staggering sums are the reason that council staff say £40m [$53M US] will need to be pumped into the children and families budget before 2023/24. Some 4,727 kids have an EHCP - the average cost is £17,044 [$22K US] per year - roughly three times the cost of educating a primary or secondary age pupil…. A further 11,000 pupils receive special educational needs (SEN) support. At a meeting about the county council’s finances this week, the Tory authority's leader Coun Nick Rushton, told members that special educational needs and disablities (SEND) is the “biggest cost pressure” facing the council. The chief executive, John Sinnott, told the meeting that after losing a recent tribunal, the county council will now have to foot a £500,000 a year bill for one child’s education…. “Whilst we need to do whatever we can to increase in house provision, because that’s a big part of the answer, we need to make sure we have a sympathetic yet robust approach to EHCP applications. “The system is designed not to support us, it’s designed to support the parents and that’s fair enough but it’s very loaded at the moment and the financial consequences are getting greater.” Particulars of the £500,000 package can’t be provided but lead member for children’s services Ivan Ould did say: “There are some children whose needs are so specialised there is perhaps only one or two schools in the whole country that they can go to…. By the end of this year, the council will have created 200 SEND places. But according to officers, demand means that the laces are being filled by other pupils coming through the system, rather than being made available to children with EHCPs that are in expensive independent provision. A council spokesperson explained: “A very small number of children do require an independent school placement. … Coun Rushton said that another issue connected to SEND, is the tribunals. He told members that “95 per cent” of the time parents win the appeals costing the authority in legal fees on top of the plan costs. Coun Ould said: “Parents have and can, and do appeal to a SEND tribunal and the tribunals nearly always rule in their favour….