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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Special needs education services receive multi-million pound boost

Written by The Press Association

Hundreds of millions of pounds in funding has been announced to help improve provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Government has provided £680 million to create 40,000 more good school places in primary and secondary schools, building on the 825,000 new school places created since 2010.

The Department for Education said the new allocation also included a £50 million funding boost for councils to create additional school places and top-end facilities to cope with growing demand for services.

The boost could help create around 740 more special school places and provide new specialist facilities to support children with complex needs, such as sensory rooms and playgrounds with specialist equipment, a Government spokesman said.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: "All parents want to send their child to a good local school, one that meets their individual needs and supports them to achieve their full potential, regardless of the challenges they may face.

"This funding will help to create thousands more school places across the country, with a clear focus on transforming the experience of education for children with special educational needs or disabilities."

The funding comes on the back of increased demand for specialist services amid concerns schools are struggling to cater for special needs pupils due to a shortage of places.

Last month delegates at the National Education Union (ATL section) heard schools were at "breaking point" and argued that action was needed to highlight the issues faced by "invisible children" and their families.

Labours shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: Our schools finances are approaching breaking point, yet the Government can only re-announce old policies and old funding.

To offer £50 million for children with special education needs, after cutting billions from school budgets since 2015, is utterly derisory and will not reverse the damage that years of cuts have inflicted on the life chances of our children.

The next Labour government will give our schools the investment they need, creating a national education service to give every child the best start in life.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) David Jones / PA Wire.