Government’s SEND Capital Funding Falls Short of Local Needs

It has this week been announced that Telford & Wrekin Council will receive £3.6m for additional funding to help provide additional school places for children or young people with SEND or who require alternative provision.

Government’s SEND Capital Funding Falls Short of Local Needs

The funding comes as a part of the Department of Education’s (DoE) wider £850m investment which is going to councils across the country to create new places for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and in Alternative Provision (AP) in mainstream and special schools, and to improve the accessibility of existing buildings.  

SEND provision plays a crucial role in ensuring that children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities receive the tailored support necessary to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. However, the challenges currently faced by local authorities in meeting these needs have been intensified by budget constraints and increasing demand. 

In recent years, Telford & Wrekin Council has invested around £10.8 million into schools across the borough, to create more special school places and several Specialist Provision Hubs within mainstream school buildings for children and young people with SEND. 

The council has worked with some of the borough’s primary and secondary schools to develop Specialist Provision Hubs (adapted classrooms within school buildings), which help eligible children and young people with SEND to access mainstream education. 

Each Specialist Provision Hub developed by the council provides eight to ten additional places in mainstream primary and secondary schools for children and young people with SEND.

Specialist Provision Hubs are already in place at a number of primary and secondary schools across the borough, such as Hollinswood, Old Park and Wrockwardine Wood Infant, John Randal, Newport Infant School and Langley Academy.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds (Lab) Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Young People commented: “Every child deserves access to quality education and support services that enable them to reach their full potential. Only through collaborative efforts and sustained investment can we ensure that no child is left behind.

“While we appreciate any additional investment the reality is that this funding will provide around 60,000 school places across the country. For Telford and Wrekin this still falls short on what is necessary to provide essential support and resources to ensure that SEND students in the borough thrive in their educational settings.  In Telford and Wrekin alone, we have seen a 70% rise in requests for Education, Health and Care Plans over the last year and resources are now very stretched to deliver on our statutory duties.

“Despite this additional funding, the challenges faced by local authorities in meeting the growing demand for SEND are multifaceted and cannot be resolved through one-off injections of capital funding alone.

“A more comprehensive and sustained approach is needed to truly bridge the gap between demand and provision. Investing in early intervention strategies, expanding specialist provision, and fostering collaboration between partner agencies are essential steps towards building a more inclusive and supportive system for children with SEND.”