Parents of SEND children know all too well how the cuts to SEND and children's services have decimated crucial provision. In many cases, it's led to disabled children having little or no education.
It's hard to see any impact from the £700 million that's been doled out to LAs in the last few months. Do you know what your LA has done with their share? As far as we can see, nothing has changed for the better for families.
New funding plans won't help
Far from improving the situation, the Department of Education’s proposals to change the way SEND funding is distributed could spell disaster for vulnerable children.
SEND is funded by the High Needs Block budget. But the DfE's sparkly new plans mean if this budget is insufficient, LAs will be barred from topping it up from their reserves or any other council pots of money, including the education budget.
This ability to "rob Peter to pay Paul" is the very thing the Government used to defeat a 2019 judicial review over SEND funding, brought by one of our SCA co-founders, SEND Action. It would be ironic, if it wasn't so gob-smackingly outrageous.
Since then, some local authorities have started to admit they often can’t provide for their most vulnerable children because of limited funding. A number of councils are seeking legal advice about taking Government to judicial review themselves over the plans. If they have the guts to follow through.
How will this affect our SEND children and young people?
Without the ability to back-fill the SEND deficit from other budgets, some LAs will be faced with cutting SEND provision even further. We're already seeing moves to restrict SEND transport among other cost-cutting proposals.
But across the country, parents are mobilising to use the law to fight further cuts and SCA supports them all. We've collated the actions we know about and have some advice and a template letter for how you can take action of your own.
- Launching the SEND Community Alliance: An independent campaign group
- SEND Community Alliance: A Manifesto
- The 2019 SEND Advocates’ Stampede
- Ofsted’s grim verdict on SEND in England
- Join us in the fight ahead to defend the rights of disabled children
- What does ‘£700 million for SEND’ actually mean in reality?
- The DfE’s out of SEND Funding ideas. Can you help out?
- New children’s minister Vicky Ford MUST sign off on continued Ofsted/CQC SEND inspections
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Don’t miss a thing!
- The Government’s proposals for SEND funding could be disastrous for vulnerable children - March 3, 2020
- SEND Community Alliance: A Manifesto - November 15, 2019