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Schools set for special needs funding boost

07/03/2017 Joanna

Schools across England are to receive more funding to invest in facilities for pupils with disabilities and special needs.

A total of £215 million has been allocated to increase school capacity and make it easier for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to access good school places.

All local authorities, with the exception of the City of London and the Isles of Scilly, will receive at least £500,000 to be spent across three years from 2018 onwards, but the money is ringfenced for improving specialised facilities and cannot be allocated to general school budgets.

Local authorities can allocate the money to any mainstream school and minister for vulnerable children and families Edward Timpson said the money will improve facilities to ensure "that no child is left behind".

"This government is determined to build a country that works for everyone - a country where every child has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of their background, and any‎ challenges they may face," he stated.

Interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders Malcolm Trobe said to the BBC that while headteachers will be pleased with any form of government investment, this money is a "drop in the ocean" given that schools need to make £3 billion in savings to annual running costs by 2020.

Local councils will run consultations with schools, parents, carers and other SEND stakeholders on how the money will be spent, with one of the requirements being the release of a short plan detailing where the money will be going.

Earlier in the year, the government announced SEND investment of almost £50 million from April, which is earmarked to help children with special needs receive more support, both at school and at home.

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