Future of nurseries for children with SEND ‘at risk’, councils warn

Local authority-run nurseries that often specialise in support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) could be forced to close due to planned funding cuts, councils are warning. Council-run, maintained nurseries are required to have qualified teachers, unlike other early years settings, and often specialise in supporting children with SEND. Currently they receive £55m a year in extra funding in recognition of the extra costs they incur recruiting specialist staff, but this is set to end after the 2019/20 financial year. A survey of 56 councils by the Local Government Association found that 61 per cent believe that maintained nurseries in their area could close if this funding is not protected. Of those surveyed 19 (33 per cent) said it was “very likely” that nurseries would close in their area without funding protection. Just over half (52 per cent) believe the loss of this extra funding will mean reduced support for children with SEND. Read more.