Newham Council is proposing to change how it allocates money to mainstream schools to support pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and is inviting residents to have their say as part of a public consultation, including workshops.
The Government provides funding for pupils in Newham with the highest special educational needs and disabilities. The council expects to overspend on the High Needs Block (the budget that funds pupils with SEND) by £8.2 million by the end of this financial year. This means that the Department of Education will require Newham to provide a Budget Recovery Plan.
Newham is not alone in over-spending, as 81 per cent of local authorities will exceed their High Needs Budget. We want your views on how we allocate High Needs Budget on SEND pupils attending schools in the borough.
The council has provided an additional £1.3 million this financial year and for the following two years to improve the processes and services for children and young people with SEND. Despite this extra money, the funding for schools is still dependent on the grant provided by the Department for Education.
Councillor Julianne Marriott said: “Our consultation asks residents how they think we can better allocate the money we receive from central Government for our most vulnerable young people with special education needs and disabilities. I hope they will get involved, which they can do by filling in the questionnaire or coming to the workshops.
“However, what our young people really need is for Government to properly fund our young people’s needs and to act on the recommendations of the Education Select Committee which found that local authorities have been “set up to fail” by Government.”
The proposed changes are needed to ensure a better match between the individual needs of children with SEND and the funding schools receive to support them, and to reduce the amount of overspend on the High Needs Block budget.
This proposal only relates to pupils with high level SEND attending mainstream schools in Newham and does not affect pupils in other settings such as Special Schools, Resource Provisions in mainstream schools and pupils attending schools outside Newham.
People can share their views on the consultation until Tuesday 3 March.
For further information and to share your views visit www.newham.gov.uk/SHN