SEND system is ‘unsustainable’, says NAO

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are not getting the support they need as councils and schools battle to cope with the twin threat of rising demand and funding pressures, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report. The NAO says SEND support “is not, on current trends, financially sustainable” and is calling on the government to take urgent action to effectively fund help in schools for this group of pupils. Support for pupils with SEND is made available by the government through the high needs block of funding but the report found that spending on each pupil through this has dropped by 2.6 per cent in real terms over the last six years. While the government increased the high needs block funding for schools by £349m (7.2 per cent) between 2013/14 and 2017/18 the NAO says this has coincided with a 10 per cent increase in the number of SEND pupils over the same period. This means that the high needs spending per pupil has dropped from £19,600 to £19,000. Read more.

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