Government announces further £50m funding to further improve special education facilities
Tuesday 29th May 2018
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced an extra £50 million for local authorities to help them create more school places and improve their special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision.
This is on top of the £215 million announced last year by the DfE.
The money can be used by local Authorities to invest as they see fit and can be used in mainstream schools, including academies, free schools and grammar schools, special units, special schools, early years settings, further education colleges or other provision for children and young people aged from 0-25.
The government's investment suggestions include building new specialised classrooms, expanding existing classrooms for children using mobility aids, purchasing mobility equipment and creating storage facilities for wheelchairs.
Gail Walshe, head of parent carer participation at Contact says: "We welcome any increase in funding that will help inclusion of children with additional needs in mainstream schools. Schools have a duty to be accessible, but we know from calls to Contact's helpline that this is not always the case.
"Some schools lack capacity in their specialist units, or do not have a quiet room for children with sensory issues or adequate changing facilities for children with personal care needs. We hope that this top up funding together with the £215m announced last year will help make a visible difference.
"Parent carer forums - networks of parent carers across the country - can help ensure this happens by working strategically with local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and others to make sure the views and opinions of families directly influence the services that affect them."
Maureen Morris from the National Network of Parent Carer Forums said: "The National Network of Parent Carer Forums are pleased to see the announcement from the Department for Education regarding an increase in the capital spending to increase places or improve facilities in schools for children and young people with SEND.
"Specialist provision continues to be under great pressure across the country and it is vital this money makes the greatest impact. We are pleased to note that local authorities will need to work with parent and carers to determine how it is most effectively spent."