21st Sep, 2020

Funding crisis means children with special educational needs and disabilities in Warwickshire missing school

A FUNDING crisis has left children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) unable to attend school say campaigners.

Government cuts have left local authorities with insufficient money to fulfill its obligations to SEND pupils who account for around 14 per cent of children across the UK.

And campaign group Warwickshire SEND National Crisis says 20 children in Warwickshire cannot attend school due to lack of places and support in schools.

Parent Simon Morris is among those whose child was missing out because of poor support for children with autism.

He voiced his frustration at a recent meeting for parents of children with special needs in Leamington.

He said: “It is simply not acceptable that there are children who either cannot get a school place or struggle to get one with sufficient support.

“It is stressful enough for parents who have already got enough on their plate looking after children with SEND, without having to battle for the right support.”

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) is aware there are children who do not have access to full-time mainstream education and who are awaiting assessments and support plans.

WCC education spokesman Coun Colin Hayfield assured parents the council recognised the shortfall in local government funding for children with SEND, and was in regular contact with the education minister.

He said: “We have recently received an additional in year sum of £1.2million from the Department of Education and will receive the same figure again in addition to our funding settlement for the new financial year, to enable us to be better positioned to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND.

“While we would always welcome additional funding, it is important to work with what we have and, in that respect, Warwickshire is performing very well. For example, we far exceed the national average, 78 per cent compared to 65 per cent, for putting in place required programmes of support within 20 weeks for children and young people that have been provided with a formal education, health and care plan.”

He went on to explain, since last year, the number of pupils travelling outside the county for school had been reduced by around a third and permanent exclusions by half.

He added: “So while funding is limited, it is critical that we continue to work at this very high level to ensure we get the maximum out of the resources available to us.”

SEND Warwickshire will be holding a rally in Leamington Pump Room gardens on May 30.

Search SEND National Crisis March Warwickshire on Facebook for more details.

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