(UK) Stoke-on-Trent: Plans for 2 new SPED schools; following 35% increase in demand over 4 yrs

May 3, 2018, (UK) Stoke-on-Trent Live: Fears raised over £5.5 million special education funding black hole in Stoke-on-Trent Councillors fear services could suffer if a £5.5 million black hole in special education funding is not filled. Managers at Stoke-on-Trent City Council say it is proving ‘extremely challenging’ to deliver the service within budget, having used now-depleted reserves to meet deficits in previous years. The authority has unveiled plans to expand special school provision within the city in order to cut the amount spent on costly independent sector places – which is a major drain on council resources. … Earlier this year the council announced plans for two new special schools and expansions are four existing facilities, following a 35 per cent increase in demand in the last four years. The current lack of provision in Stoke-on-Trent means some children are having to attend schools outside the city. This results in more money being spent on both school fees and transport. These factors resulted in a £4.8 million overspend in 2016/17, which was met with £3.7 million from the dedicated schools grant reserve and underspends elsewhere.