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(UK) S. Holland: 54% increase in SPED in 5 yrs; $3.5M being spent for "specialist support"

Oct 11, 2022, Spalding Today: Huge rise in South Holland primary school pupils needing extra help in the classroom

E. England

There’s been a huge increase in the number of our primary school children who need specialist support in the classroom, we can reveal.

Data exclusively obtained by the Spalding Guardian shows the number of mainstream South Holland primary pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) has shot up from 420 in 2017/18 to 648 in 2021/22, the latest available figures….

Of the 648 children in need of extra help, 121 require full time support - meaning 32.5 hours a week from a teaching assistant.

The big rise in demand means £3.2 million [$3.5M] is now being spent to support South Holland primary pupils with an EHCP - up from £1.3 million [$1.4M] five years ago.

However, the number of our children needing help may be even higher than the 54% jump in EHCPs suggests - with education sources saying this rise comes despite the fact it is increasingly tough for teachers and parents to get extra support for children who need it.

Spalding-based Ken Rustidge, the Lincolnshire secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), has spoken to local teachers and head teachers about the matter.

He said the lack of specialist schools in the area is having an impact - meaning there are more children with additional needs having to go to mainstream schools, where there are not always the resources to support them.

He said it’s ‘getting much harder’ to get extra support for children and added: “The key point, and this comes from a head teacher, is that it’s getting harder and harder to get support staff….

He said teachers sometimes feel they get the support they need - but are often forced to try to find cash from an already-squeezed school budget to do this for themselves.

EHCPs are not a first step - and schools need to show they have provided extra support for a child already before they can even attempt to get a plan.

Mr Rustidge added: “The situation is very serious.

Increasing numbers of South Holland children need extra support in the classroom (photo: istock/anandaBGD)


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