Financial future of SEND system is fragile, DfE admits

System 'costs more than funding available' as SEND pupils rise by 200,000 in a year, says DfE annual report
5th November 2020, 6:10pm

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Financial future of SEND system is fragile, DfE admits

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/financial-future-send-system-fragile-dfe-admits
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The future sustainability of the special educational needs and disability system in England "remains fragile" and a review has been launched to "consider changes", according to the DfE annual report published today.

The report shows a rise of 200,000 in the number of pupils with SEND, from 1.1 million to 1.3 million.

It states that SEND costs have increased "significantly more than available funding", identifying the risk as "stable" but "high".


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The report highlights the additional £780 million for SEND funding being made available in 2020-21 alongside a £12 million investment to support local authorities and clinical commissioning groups.

It adds: "For 2021-22, we have increased high needs by £730 million (compared to 2020-21), which represents a 10 per cent increase. This comes on top of the additional £780 million in 2020- 21, which means high-needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5 billion, or 24 per cent, in just two years since 2019-20."

However, it states: "High-needs funding for 2020-21 and 2021-22 has yet to be decided. Officials have continued work with local authorities, both to understand how funding is best deployed and costs managed, and to advise on remedial action that might be taken. Despite these measures, the future sustainability of the system remains fragile, and a review of the SEND system has been launched to consider more fundamental changes".

The report also mentions the SEND System Leadership Board, which has been set up to bring together leaders across education, health and social care to improve joint working. 

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