The Department for Education announced on Sunday extra funding to help councils struggling to meet rising demand for support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
The funding includes £250 million that will be allocated to councils over the next two years. The additional funding has been allocated based on their projected population of children and young people aged between 2 and 18.
London will receive £21 million per year from this pot - £42 million in total.
London Councils’ analysis shows that in 2017/18 London boroughs had a collective shortfall in their budgets for supporting children and young people with SEND totalling £78 million. This suggests that the additional £21 million per year will not go far enough to enable councils in London to fully meet the cost of supporting children and young people with SEND across the capital.
Using projected population of children and young people aged between 2 and 18 to allocate this additional funding is different to the method currently used to share out funding for children with SEND. If the £250 million funding was allocated based on the current method - the new national funding formula for high needs, which was introduced in April this year and allocates according to level of need as well as population - London would have received an additional £9 million over the two year period.
In response Cllr Nickie Aiken, London Councils’ Executive member for Schools & Children’s Services, said:
“Additional funding for children and young people with SEND is welcome. We are pleased that the government has listened to our calls for more funding for the high needs block to meet rising demand and costs.
“However, London is set to receive additional funding of just £21 million per year, a quarter of what is needed to cover the annual funding shortfall in budgets for children and young people in London with SEND.
“We urge central government to look again at using the high needs funding formula to allocate this extra funding, as well as investing more resources in supporting children with SEND on a longer term basis.”
Notes to editors
- London is home to 54,000 children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). This is 17.1% of all pupils with Education Health and Care Plans in the country Having an EHCP is a key indicator of children with SEND.
- London received 20.4% of High Needs funding allocations in 2018/19. London will receive 16.1% of the total amount of the £250 million additional funding announced this week.