Today, the Secretary of State for Education announced additional high needs funding for Local Authorities, alongside the 2019-20 Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) allocations to local authorities. The government is providing a further £125 million in 2018-19 and £125 million of high needs funding for 2019-20, recognising the current pressures on high needs budgets.
Accompanying this, he announced a further £100 million top-up to the Special Provision Capital Fund for local authorities in 2019-20, to take the total investment to £365 million across 2018-21, helping Local Authorities invest in improved facilities and additional school and college places, for children and young people with SEND.
Additionally, the Secretary of State has announced a package of non-funding measures. This announcement includes:
- lifting the cap on the number of special and alternative provision free school bids that will be approved as part of the current wave;
- funding the training of three more cohorts of Educational Psychologist trainees, starting in September 2020, and increasing the number of trainees from 160 to at least 206, to reflect increased demand;
- the establishment and detail of the SEND System Leadership Board, as recommended in the Lenehan review, which will work to improve joint working and commissioning in local areas; and establishing regular joint Ministerial roundtables with the Department for Health and Social Care to give providers, users and voluntary sector organisations further opportunities to input their views and insight across the SEND system;
- reviewing current SEND content in Initial Teacher Training provision (ITT) and building on our existing SEND specialist qualifications to develop a continuum of learning from ITT, through teachers’ early careers and into specialist and leadership roles in support of the upcoming Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy;
- holding, in early 2019, an evidence-gathering exercise on the financial incentives in the current arrangements, in particular on the operation and use of mainstream schools’ notional SEN budget, which pays for the costs of special educational provision up to £6,000; and
- commissioning SEN Futures, a long-term research package assessing the value for money of SEN provision in England and analysing the impact of current provision on children and young people’s outcomes. Procurement for the first pieces of work in this programme has begun today: more details on this can be found here.
The Secretary of State’s letter to local authorities, detailing these announcements, can be found here.
Minister Zahawi’s letter to Dame Christine Lenehan, providing further detail on the SEND System Leadership Board, can be found here