School children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) deserve the same opportunities as all others – yet the government have cut the funding available to schools to help these children learn.
Today I confronted Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds. His answer referred to an emergency funding package announced yesterday, worth £350 million over two years. While welcome, this is sadly inadequate. The Local Government Association has calculated that there is a £536 million funding gap this financial year alone, which could rise to £800 million next year.
It’s not just me saying this. Ofsted’s chief inspector was recently highly critical of the number of children with special needs not receiving adequate support. For head teachers in my constituency, funding for special needs provision seems to be the most pressing financial problem. And parents frequently contact me with concerns about their children’s education.
This is part of a bigger picture of insufficient school funding. As a result, our teachers and other school staff are being forced to make huge sacrifices to keep the level of teaching and learning high. I will keep pressure on the government to properly fund schools, giving all children the best possible chance in life.