Cash boost for pupils with special needs and disability


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Schools in England are to receive a cash boost to help improve facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The £215m capital funding has to be spent on increasing school capacity and boosting access for these pupils to good schools.

It may be spent on specialised classrooms and facilities, but not on general day-to-day school budgets.

The news comes as many schools complain of general funding shortfalls.

Minister for vulnerable children and families, Edward Timpson, said the government wanted to ensure all children have equal opportunities regardless of their background and any‎ challenges they may face.

“We’ve already made the biggest changes for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in a generation, but we want to go further and build on that success.

“Our multi-million pound investment will enable local councils to build new classrooms and improve facilities for pupils‎, ensuring that no child is left behind,” he added.

‘Drop in the ocean’

Councils will be expected to consult local parents, carers, schools, and others on how their funding should be used and publish a short plan showing how they will spend the money.

Every local authority, except Isles of Scilly and City of London, will get at least £500,000 to be spent over three years from 2018.

Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said heads would be very pleased with any government spending on education, particularly when it is aimed at helping young people with the greatest needs.

But he added: “Unfortunately, however, this is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed.

“Schools will have to make £3bn of savings to their annual running costs by 2020, which will have a huge impact on the curriculum they are able to offer and the support they are able to give young people, because they will have far less staff.

“In addition, the National Audit Office recently reported that it would cost an estimated £6.7 billion to return all school buildings to satisfactory or better condition.”



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