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(UK) Luton: SPED spending up; 'resources not keeping up with the growth in need, demand'

S. England

Schools in Luton will get more money for their pupils in this academic year, new figures show.
However, experts have warned many schools in England will still be left short of funds as the education system's budget increase has not kept up with inflation.

Department for Education figures show Luton schools will have an average budget of £5,416 per pupil in the new 2023-24 academic year – an increase of 4.6% from £5,179 the previous year.

Inflation stood at 6.3% in the 12 months to August. The Association of School and College Leaders expressed concerns the “financial situation will continue to be extremely challenging.”… Budgets varied widely across England, with schools in inner London having the most money allocated per child – £6,559 [$8K], while those in the East of England will only have an average budget of £4,980 [$6.1K]….

In Luton, schools will have a total budget of £280 million [$343M]. Of this, £1 million [$1.2M] is allocated to special education needs support, which includes services for visual, hearing and physical impairment, specific learning difficulties such as speech, language and communication, as well as severe learning difficulties and autism.

Another £11 million [$13M] will go towards funding for high needs places, which enables those who due to exclusion, illness, or other reasons, cannot receive their education in mainstream schools, to fully participate in education and learning.

The planned expenditure on SEND services for schools in England has increased by 5.9% to £588 million [$720M] this academic year.

Mr Hallgarten said: “Although local authority spending on SEND and inclusion is rising, resources are simply not keeping up with the growth in need and demand.

“Our whole system for supporting pupils with SEND and those who are at risk of exclusion needs serious, short- and long-term reform.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “School funding in England will be at its highest level in history reaching over £59.6 billion [$73B] next year, as measured by the IFS.”


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