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Funding crisis leaves thousands of SEND children without school place, union claims

NEU highlights government data showing 4,050 youngsters with an education health and care plan or statement 'awaiting provision'

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NEU highlights government data showing 4,050 youngsters with an education health and care plan or statement 'awaiting provision'

Thousands of children with special needs are paying the price of a "crisis" in education funding, a union has claimed.

Official figures show the number of youngsters with special educational needs plans or statements that are awaiting school places has more than doubled in a year.

The National Education Union (NEU) claimed that local councils are being "starved" of the money they need for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with youngsters forced to stay at home because authorities do not have the cash to provide a suitable education.

Overall, as of January last year, there were 287,290 children and young people, up to the age of 25 in England, that had an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), or a statement of special educational needs.

Of these, the vast majority (279,582) were aged 19 or under.

The year before, there were 256,315 children and young people with an EHCP or statement, and again the vast majority were 19 and under.

The government data also shows that as of last January, 4,050 youngsters with an EHCP or statement were "awaiting provision" - effectively waiting for a place in education.

This is up 137 per cent compared with January 2016, when the number stood at 1,710, and up 372 per cent compared with 2013 (858 children).

The NEU argued: "Children facing some of the greatest challenges are paying the price for the crisis in education funding."

NEU joint general secretary, Kevin Courtney, said: "It is an absolute disgrace that the government is starving local authorities of the resources needed for children with SEND.

"Children are at home because local authorities don't have enough money to provide suitable education.

"Local authorities are being placed in an impossible position. They have a legal duty to plan high quality education for every child with SEND, but cuts have taken away the resources they need to educate children with complex needs.

"Extra money is urgently needed for SEND but it must be new money and not come from the already challenged school budgets. Parents and teachers are in despair. The government is failing thousands of children and families and must act now to resolve this critical situation."

Meanwhile, a separate survey by NASUWT union has shown more than a half (59 per cent) of all special educational needs teachers said they had been attacked by their pupils in the last year.

Staff among the 1,615 polled said they had been head-butted, punched, kicked and spat on - including, in a handful of cases, on a daily basis.


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