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( UK) N. Somerset schools at "'crisis' point due to an increase in demand for support"

June 22, 2019, Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury: Schools face huge funding shortfall for special educational needs provision Funding for special educational needs provision has reached 'crisis' point due to an increase in demand for support. Schools in North Somerset face a £3million [$3.2M US] funding shortfall in special educational needs (SEN) provision, according to the National Education Union (NEU). The Government has increased funding from £5billion to £6.3 billion over the past five years. However, the education union says the rise does not take into account the increase in pupils schools have to provide for. North Somerset Council says it is planning 'significant increases' in provision to cope with the increase in demand. A spokesman said: "Councils across the country, including North Somerset, are facing pressures in funding for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) as a result of funding not keeping up with increases in demand…. Children and young people with special educational needs are given an education, health and care plan (EHC) by North Somerset Council. In January 2015, there were 534 children in North Somerset with an EHC plan or a statement of special educational needs - which was replaced by the EHC. The budget for high needs pupils in 2015-16 was £17.9million in today's terms - the equivalent of £35,643 [$45,416 US] per pupil. In 2018-19, the budget had only increased by 30 per cent, but the number of pupils needing support had gone up by 60 per cent, to 856…. "Thousands of children and young people are missing out on the education they need and deserve, causing misery and worry among families struggling to get support for their children." The NEU says a lack of funding across the country is leading to cuts in specialist provision, a loss of specialist support staff, and increased waiting times for assessment.


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