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(UK) Oxfordshire: SPED--'We struggle to keep up with demand'

Oct 26, 2022, Oxfordshire County Council: Service improvements for children with special educational needs and disabilities https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/service-improvements-for-children-with-special-educational-needs/

S. central England

OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL APPEALS TO NEW SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EDUCATION TO ADDRESS NATIONAL FUNDING CRISIS

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) children are benefiting from service improvements provided by Oxfordshire County Council and its partners, despite major funding shortfalls from central government.

Today, the county council updated residents on how these plans are being rolled out. They are part of a package widely consulted on with partners. And with children, young people and their families.

Councillor Liz Brighouse, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Youth Services, said: “We know that parents are really worried about support and education of their children, and that families are being affected because of government policies. We understand and share these concerns. We are doing everything in our power to deal with them.

“I am appealing to the new Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, to urgently address the national funding issues facing all local authorities providing SEND services for children and young people.
"Like all local authorities in England, we struggle to keep up with demand. This is because the government’s high needs grants don’t match our children’s needs.

“Moreover, the range of children and young people receiving SEND support was extended in 2014, but no extra money was made available to extend our own special provisions.

“Gillian Keegan must find the money to fund the total accumulated deficit in the budget for SEND children arising from unfunded changes the government itself introduced nearly ten years ago. At the end of March 2022, in Oxfordshire the deficit stood at £29.8m [$34.5M] and is forecast to increase to £47.3m [$54.7M] by March 2023….

Principal changes, already implemented or in development include: • More special school places. In addition to looking to expand existing special schools, new schools at Bloxham Grove and Faringdon are in development and the county council has submitted to the Department of Education bids for two further special free schools….




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