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(UK) Liverpool: $4.1M school debt; exploding numbers of special needs kids

Jan 17, 2023, Liverpool Echo: Schools in Wirral could go £3m [$4.1M] over budget as special needs costs shoot up

NW England

Schools in Wirral are expected to go more than £3.3m [$4.1M] over budget as costs continue to go up.

This is being driven largely by increasing demand on special education needs as well as energy costs putting pressure on school budgets.
Demand on high needs services meant schools are expected to spend nearly £56m [$69M] compared to the £52.3m [$64.7M] budget set at the beginning of the financial year.
Requests for special education needs, which provide support for children with learning problems or disabilities, increased 82% in December 2022 compared to the previous year.
Extra workers have been brought in to help clear a backlog as the service is predicted to process 757 assessments between April 2022 and April 2023 compared to 414 the previous year.

n order to deal and adapt to increasing demand on these services, it’s expected schools won’t balance the books until 2026-27, three years away….

Concerns were raised about energy costs back in December when MP Margaret Greenwood, who represents Wirral West, said that one school had to buy fleeces because it couldn't afford to heat classrooms. Ms Greenwood, after raising the issue in Parliament, said: “Some schools are facing heating bills which have increased significantly and they simply do not have the money to pay them. “In one instance, a school has invested in a set of fleeces for the children to wear because the school cannot afford to heat the classrooms properly.

“This is a truly alarming state of affairs and I am very concerned about what this will mean for the health and education of young children in Wirral.”…

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