Education in the budget – the poor relation

Once again Education has been overlooked in the Budget, despite Head teachers nationwide reporting that they are having to cut jobs and ask parents for donations for basic equipment and provision.

Where does that leave support for children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities)? Neglected, out in the cold, and up the creek, that’s where. Already Heads have been trimming away and possible “excesses” in the way of support staff, therapies, specialist teachers and other services that used to be free but are now traded

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from the Local Authority or bought in from private companies.

With constantly shrinking budgets, higher bills and the redistribution of High Needs Funding, many Heads are taking the decision to use their “Notional SEN funding” (part of their delegated budget from their Local Authority or Academy group) for other purposes. SEN money – unlike the Pupil Premium for disadvantaged children – is not ring fenced and so it is up to Heads how it is used within their school.

When it comes to a choice of providing support to a small group of children with special needs, or putting a teacher in front of a class, many heads feel they have no choice but to reroute SEN money to their staff payroll.

Ultimately, lack of support for pupils who have additional needs will prove to be an expensive option. If they fail to achieve at school the chance of them becoming NEET (not in Education, Employment or Training) will increase and the lifetime cost to society of people out of work and living on benefits will vastly outweigh the relatively low cost of providing good expert support at school.

For the young people concerned the real costs are much higher. They will lose the chance of becoming contributing members of society and spend a lifetime of poverty and boredom.

Let’s get our priorities right and realise that spending on Education, and on children with disabilities, is not an optional extra. It’s a fundamental right.

By | 2017-11-23T16:31:55+00:00 November 23rd, 2017|Budget|0 Comments

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