‘Breaking point’ – Council calls on government to close special educational needs funding gap
A £10million shortfall in the cost of providing vital support for more than 2,000 vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young adults in Hackney last year shows why the government’s funding freeze on special educational needs and disabilities must end, Hackney Council has warned ministers.
In a letter to Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education, the Council has called for a new funding model to help pay for services which have reached breaking point since the government gave councils responsibility for helping more pupils without the funds to match.
As a Council, Hackney has long been raising concerns with the Government about the SEND funding crisis.
Prior to last year’s budget, Councils across the country came together to tell the Government as clearly as we could that we had reached breaking point. The Government subsequently announced extra funding for SEND and allocated Hackney a further £4m, but this was less than half of the extra funding we required.
We’ve been forced since to seek out one-off grants, make savings elsewhere and dip into our reserves, and with pressures brought by Covid-19 it is clear that this is no longer an option. The Government must change its funding model to keep up with the increasing demand.
Last year the Council joined parents, carers, teachers and young people on the national SEND Crisis March, and earlier this year Cllr Woodley and Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinnette Bramble, Cabinet Member for Education, Young People and Children’s Social Care, joined Tower Hamlets Council in presenting a £12million invoice to government to cover the shortfall in the cost of SEND support.