Insufficient funding within special educational needs (SEN) has been a consistent theme for many years. Schools are forced to dip into their own funds to assist children with SEN.
Parents apply for Education, Health and Care needs assessments and plans but are often refused as can be seen from the first-hand accounts in this article. This leads to schools having to spend monies from their own limited funds to attempt to assist the child, but it can only go so far. The child’s educational progress then suffers considerably as a result.
We can also see from the accounts in this article, that if a child is denied an EHC needs assessment or plan, the school placements they are able to access are limited. The result is children being placed in settings where their progression stalls and their potential is not realised.
In my experience as a solicitor specialising in SEN, I have always advocated that if a child receives early intervention to help them meet their needs, they will be less reliant on government funding later and fewer costs will be incurred. The article refers to a pupil who now attends a residential care setting, which may well have been avoidable if they had not been refused the early help the school requested at age seven.
We have had many parents turn to us for assistance with securing EHC needs assessments and plans when they have been denied by councils. These decisions are usually overturned as parents do not wish to seek out this help through EHC plans, unless they really feel their child requires it. It is not a decision that is taken lightly by parents.
SEN funding will not be sustainable in the long term if children with SEN are ignored, as the interventions they will require later in life will incur a much higher level of funding.
Nearly all schools (97%) responding to a survey by a head teachers' union said they received insufficient funding to support pupils who had special needs.