Oldham Labour Group is calling for action to address a crisis in Special Education Needs and Disability Services (SEND). A Labour motion going to Oldham’s Council meeting tonight (December 15th) calls on central government to recognise and remedy the significant under funding of services for children with Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) services.
There is a national crisis because the Government are failing to adequately fund SEND services and this lack of funding is hitting boroughs like Oldham harder than other parts of the country. In Oldham there are 2634 children and young people within the borough who have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP), and demand for SEND services is increasing rapidly: between May and September 2020 the number of Education Health and Care needs assessment requests doubled.
The Council has worked hard to improve the process of assessing and keeping up to date Education Health and Care Needs plans but any plan can only provide the support needed if the money needed for the services identified is available.
It is recognised nationally that funding from Government has failed to keep pace with rapidly increasing costs, leaving big gaps in budgets for both Councils and schools. The Local Government Association estimated that councils in England would face a SEND funding gap of up to £1.6 billion by 2021. The financial burden on schools is also significant because schools are required to provide at least the first £6,000 of support for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and we all know that schools are already struggling in the face of cuts to their General Budgets.
Councillor Eddie Moores will be moving the motion at Council and said ‘There is a lot of good work being done in Oldham to support children and young people with SEND and I thank all those involved. The children with EHC plans need a lot of support to achieve their full potential and Government must make sure Oldham Council is given the money these children need.’