South Tyneside Council backs national bid for more special education funding

Coun Moira Smith
Coun Moira Smith

South Tyneside Council has joined forces with an education group to appeal for more funding.

The Schools Cuts Coalition and 39 local authorities, including South Tyneside Council, have written to the Education Secretary saying more money is urgently needed.

South Tyneside is one of the hardest hit councils in the country

Coun Moira Smith

They told Damian Hinds they have deep concerns about the dangerously inadequate funding for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for children, young people and families at South Tyneside Council said the borough is one of the worst hit.

She said: “Research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has confirmed that South Tyneside is one of the hardest hit councils in the country.

“As a result of central government cuts, we now have 54% less to spend on helping the people of South Tyneside. That is £746 less for each household, a staggering £402 worse off than the national average.

“Despite this, we remain committed to doing everything we can to make sure all our young people have the best start in life. We will continue to work extensively with parents and carers of children with special needs to ensure they receive the support they need.”

In their letter to the Education Secretary, the councils and the School Cuts Coalition outlined the situation.

They claim over 2,000 children and young people with special educational needs (SEND) are sitting at home with no education provision at all.

This is an unacceptable situation leading to huge stress and anxiety for parents and their children, they say.

The group said many local authorities and schools do not have enough money to meet their statutory obligations for children living with SEND and this is resulting in severely pared back services making life very difficult or in some cases impossible for families and schools needing to access SEND support.

The letter read: “The Government’s recent cash injection for SEND does not introduce any new money into local authority budgets and this will not solve the long term challenges LAs and schools face in delivering effective SEND provision.

“Lack of adequate SEND funding is limiting local authorities’ ability to meet their statutory duties for children living with SEND. The result has been far-reaching reductions to SEND provision and nationally over 2,000 children and young people identified with complex needs with no education provision at all.”

They said they are calling for a significant increase in High Needs Block funding to local authorities to provide appropriate support to children and young people with the most complex needs; an immediate increase in funding for schools and a fair, sustainable funding system for SEND.