Government Announces Multi-Million Pound Funding For Children With SEND
The Law Of… protecting the future of children with SEND
Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, recently announced that almost £60million would be invested in supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from April 2017.
Samantha Hale, Associate Solicitor in Education Law and Community Care, explains what this funding could mean for children with SEND and whether the government's plans will meet the demands of a sector that's already been stretched to its limits.
What Funding Is SEND Getting?
Almost £60million in funding is going to be invested in meeting the needs of children with SEND, and supporting the work done by groups dedicated to helping the parents of children with SEND.
- £40million will be given to councils, which is an increase of £4.2million in comparison to the funding that they received last year.
- £15million will be given to the Independent Supporters Programme in 2017 – 2018, which is run by the Council for Disabled Children and helps parents work their way through the complex SEND system.
- £2.3million will go to Parent Carer Forums in 2017 – 2018, which offer parents and carers the chance to make their voices and opinions on the system heard.
- £1.8million will be given to Contact a Family, a charity that provides information and support for families with disabled children. It will also go towards funding Parent Carer Forums and their network as well as running a national helpline for families.
How Will This Have An Impact On SEND?
Although the amount going to Local Authorities (LA) sounds like a substantial sum and has increased by £4.2million from last year, in reality it really isn't a lot of funding when you consider that it will need to be divided between every LA in the UK.
"There are approximately 170 Local Education Authorities in England, which means on average there would only be around £24,705.88 in extra funding available per authority", Samantha comments.
"This estimated figure is a miniscule amount in reality when you consider that children with SEND need support on an ongoing basis, and each child has different needs that require different types of provisions to be made."
"This increase in funding for children with SEND is fantastic, especially as this includes funding for an Independent Supporters programme, Parent Carer Forums, and Contact a Family – these are all important organisations that offer crucial guidance for families."
"But, it seems like the additional £4.2million is not going to fund SEN provision. Instead, it appears to be going to help the LAs ‘make effective plans for this important final year of the transition to the new SEND system’, and therefore is just to help ensure they comply with their legal duty."
"The fact that £4.2million is being given to LAs to help them make effective plans suggests that there might be LAs that fail to comply with the deadline for changing all Statements to EHCPs, like some did with the deadline for Learning Difficulties Assessments (LDAs)."
"In January 2014, prior to the EHCP legislation coming into force in September 2014, there were 232,190 pupils with statements of SEN."
What Can You Do If You're Worried That Your Child's SEND Are Not Being Met Or That They Haven't Transitioned To An EHCP Yet?
As we specialise in cases involving children with SEND, we understand the obstacles that parents can face when they're trying to get the right type of provision or placement for their children.
If your child has a Statement of SEN or EHCP and you're concerned that their needs are not being met, or you want to appeal against a decision made relating to their EHCP, or you're having difficulties with the EHCP transition, get in touch with one of our Education Law
solicitors as soon as you can.