On Thursday 30th May, families took part in the SEND National Crisis campaign in 28 town and cities across England. They delivered a petition to Downing Street with over 14,000 signatures calling the Government to provide more money for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
SEND provisions in mainstream schools and centres across England have missed out on over £1.2bn of central government funding, since 2015. The lack of funding fails to equip schools with the correct resources and support to give our children the world class education they deserve. The cuts have seen a reduction in teaching assistant support in schools, which has profound effect on pupils’ development and learning. Supported by the National Education Union (NEU), joint secretary of the NEU Kevin Courtney said: “This is clearly a crisis, with pupils and parents bearing the brunt of real-terms funding cuts and the wholly inadequate planning by Government”. He continued, “Last year, when the NEU won an additional £350m for children and young people with additional needs, the Government admitted that ‘more needs to be done’. We hold them to those words today. Get on with it”.
The government is failing to keep up with the increasing number of SEND pupils in schools in England. IPPR North found that although funding has increased by 11 per cent, the funding per pupil in fact fell from £23,000 in 2015/16 to just over £19,000 in 2018/19.
In response, Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said "funding for the high-needs budget is a priority for this government and we know that councils and schools are facing pressures”. The government is currently revising the SEND code of practice and have already provided an extra £250m up to 2020.