Nov 16, 2018, Ekklesia: Special needs support for children in England faces potential half billion funding gap http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/27191 Vital support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is facing a potential funding gap this year of more than half a billion pounds, according to the interim findings of new research by the Local Government Assocition (LGA). The LGA has found that the projected shortfall facing these vital services in England is £536 million [$688M US dollars] for 2018/19. This is more than double the gap they faced the previous year as councils struggle to cope with rising demand for support. These are findings based on a survey of 73 councils (half of local authorities with SEND duties). The LGA is warning that this growing gap is putting at risk the ability of councils to meet their statutory duties, and that children with SEND could miss out on a mainstream education without urgent action by the Government to provide investment in the Local Government Finance Settlement next month. The underfunding of SEND is also adding to the severe pressures already facing schools. This comes as government figures show: the number of children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) or statements, which detail the support a child with SEND receives, has increased by 35 per cent in five years, from 237,111 in 2013/14 to 319,819 in 2017/18. the number of children and young people educated in special schools and specialist colleges has risen by 24 per cent during the same period, from 105,442 in 2013/14 to 131,230 in 2017/18. …. Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “We face a looming crisis in meeting the unprecedented rise in demand for support from children with special educational needs and disabilities….