Mounting concerns about insufficiency of high needs funding
The County Councils Network (CCN), a representative organisation for county councils in England, has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, to express “growing concern” about the insufficiency of high needs funding for supporting children with special educational needs.
CCN report that 21 county councils have overspent on their high needs block over the last two years and 22 project a further overspend of 5.1% in 2018/19. Many counties have therefore made requests to move funds from the main schools block to the high needs block, a situation described as neither sustainable nor desirable.
CNN are calling on the government to “urgently inject resource into the high needs block this year” and work with them to “come up with a sustainable long-term solution to meeting the increasing demand in special educational needs services”.
The National Deaf Children’s Society has also expressed concern about the adequacy of high needs funding this week. 45 of 122 local authorities that responded to freedom of information requests were planning to cut spending on deaf children this year, representing a total loss of funding of £4 million. The charity are concerned that the loss of specialist teachers and support staff is already damaging pupils’ education.