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SEND funding ‘black hole’ grew by 52% last year

05 May 2022

The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) funding ‘black hole’ grew by 52% in the past year, with one child sent to a SEND school 412 miles from their home reports the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).

As of the end of March 2022, there was a high-needs SEND funding black hole in England of £1.3bn - an increase of £465 million.

Three quarters of local authorities (LAs) now have SEND funding deficits, some of which have doubled or tripled in the past year.

Some councils are attempting to cut costs by introducing more hoops to jump through, as the number of education, health and care (EHC) plans has risen by over 20% in the past year in some LA areas.

Around 43,000 Disabled children have to go to schools outside of their home areas in England due to a lack of local support.

DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “It is clear that decades of underfunding is catching up with both local and national government. Grassroots networks of parents are becoming increasingly clued up on their rights in law, and are standing up for them, resulting in a groundswell of perceived new need. It is not new need. We fully support councils who are investing money, even as they stand accused of creating financial ‘black holes’ in doing so.

“It is time that national Government realised that Disabled children need the right levels of funding to ensure that they are fully supported and can thrive as they progress through childhood. A divide and conquer approach to local authority funding, where LAs are criticised for ‘spending too much’ when they are merely meeting need, when budgets have been progressively slashed to the bone, and where pitting older people’s care against younger people’s education, is not remotely the answer.” Read more on Special Needs Jungle here.