Closed petition Increase funding for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) education

I would like the Government to increase funding for SEND education, so that local authorities can provide more school places for children with SEND. Parents shouldn’t have to fight to get their child the education they need.

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I believe there is a national crisis regarding SEND school places. SEND education needs more funding so that local authorities are able to build more specialist SEND schools. There are so many families nationally with children that have no specialist SEND schools locally. This isn’t something new, This is a crisis that’s been going on for many years & there’s not enough funding in many areas. I believe that the Government need to look into this and make more funds available to help with SEND Education, so families that have children with special needs/disabilities are able to get a specialist school setting for their children they deserve without having to fight for a place.

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Government responded

This response was given on 19 April 2023

The Government is investing £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to support local authorities to deliver new specialist SEND places and increasing high needs revenue funding to £10.1 billion in 2023-24.

The £2.6 billion investment in high needs provision announced in October 2022 represents a significant, transformational investment in new high needs provision, and will help fulfil the government’s 2019 manifesto commitment to deliver additional places for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or who require alternative provision (AP).

As part of this funding commitment, in March 2022, we announced High Needs Provision Capital Allocations amounting to over £1.4 billion of new investment. This funding is to support local authorities (LAs) to deliver new places for academic years 2023/24 and 2024/25 and improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND or who require AP.

This funding follows investment of £300 million in financial year 2021-22 and £365 million between 2018 and 2021.

High Needs Provision Capital Allocations for 2021 to 2024 are published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-provision-capital-allocations. SEND provision capital funding allocations for 2018 to 2021 are published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-provision-capital-funding-for-pupils-with-ehc-plans.

Furthermore, starting from Summer 2023 we will, for the first time, be collecting data from LAs on available capacity in special schools, SEN units and resourced provision, along with corresponding forecasts of demand for these places. This data will help the Department to more effectively support LAs to fulfil their statutory duty to provide sufficient specialist places.

In addition to the direct capital allocations to LAs, we have committed to delivering up to 60 new special and AP free schools. This is in addition to the 92 open special free schools that already exist, as well as the 48 special free schools in the pipeline.

On 10 June 2022 we launched the 2022 special free school application wave, with the publication of our ‘how to apply’ guidance. The application window for LAs wishing to apply to open a new special free school in their area closed on Friday 21 October. On 2 March 2023, as part of the announcement of the SEND and AP Improvement Plan, the Department announced the 33 LA applications that had been successful in the 2022 special free schools wave. These schools will be located in LA areas all across England.

Alongside the investment in capital funding, high needs revenue funding for children and young people with complex needs, is increasing by over 50% from 2019-20, to a total of £10.1 billion in financial year 2023-24. This funding is provided to meet the ongoing costs of supporting and educating those who need specialist SEND and alternative provision services. Every LA will see a minimum per-head increase of 9.8% in their total high needs allocations in 2023-24 compared to 2022-23. Most children with SEND are educated in mainstream schools, and receive support that costs up to £6,000 per pupil per annum from those schools’ core funding, with high needs funding meeting the costs of SEND support in excess of £6,000. Mainstream schools’ core funding is increasing by an average 5.6% per pupil in 2023-24, compared to 2022-23.

The Government remains committed to ensuring a financially sustainable SEND system where resources are effectively targeted to need. On the 2 March 2022 we published our SEND and Alternative Improvement plan
(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-and-alternative-provision-improvement-plan) which sets out the steps we’re taking to make sure more children and young people with SEND or in AP get the support they need. We will continue to support the system in the immediate term to deliver change and continue to improve the experience and outcomes for children and young people with SEND and those who need AP.

Department for Education

Share your experiences: SEND workforce

On Wednesday 22 March, Geraint Davies MP will lead a debate in Parliament on the specialist workforce for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

To inform the debate, he would like to hear about your experiences of accessing SEND specialists. He would also like to hear from anyone who has worked with people with SEND. He may quote your contribution directly during his debate.

Find out more and share your experiences with him by midday on Tuesday 21 March:

Education and health policy are devolved matters, so the UK Government is only responsible for these policy areas in England, but he is interested in hearing from people across the UK.

Videos of the debate, the transcript of what was said in it, and other relevant material will be accessible shortly after the debate on this webpage.

What are Westminster Hall debates?

Westminster Hall is the second Chamber of the House of Commons.

Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate.

Debates in Westminster Hall take place on ‘general debate' motions expressed in neutral terms. These motions are worded ‘That this House has considered [a specific matter]'. This means that Westminster debates don’t end in a vote on a particular action or decision.

MPs hear from disabled people on National Disability Strategy

A cross-party group of MPs called the Women and Equalities Committee, has heard from disabled people and representative organisations on the Government’s National Disability Strategy.

The Government’s Strategy was declared unlawful by the High Court last year due to failures in the consultation process. As a result of the ruling, 14 policies have been paused. The Government is appealing the ruling, with the hearing likely to take place this Spring-Summer.

The Committee examined the Government’s engagement with disabled people and heard views on the Health and Disability White Paper, published alongside the Spring Budget, priorities for the Disability Action Plan and compliance with international obligations.

The Committee also explored policy for non-visible disabilities and health conditions, including chronic illness, mental health problems and deafness

Further information

What is the Women and Equalities Committee

The Women and Equalities Committee is a cross-party group of MPs who look into the work of the Government Equalities Office (GEO).

The Women and Equalities Committee is a select committee. Find out how select committees work.

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.

SEND provision and funding debated by MPs

On Thursday 11 January, Sir David Davis MP led a Backbench Business debate in Parliament on SEND provision and funding.

Along with other MPs, he spoke about the many people who have signed petitions on the issue.

He also quoted those who had shared their experiences to help inform previous debates on SEND provision and funding.

Watch or read the debate – and see the Government's response – on SEND provision and funding

What are Backbench Business debates?

Backbench Business debates give backbenchers (MPs who aren’t ministers or shadow ministers) an opportunity to secure a debate on a topic of their choice, either in the main House of Commons Chamber or Westminster Hall, the second chamber of the House of Commons.

MPs can make a request for a debate to the Backbench Business Committee, who hears requests and decides which debates to schedule.

Backbench debates can either be general debates (which do not end in a vote) or be on a substantive motion (which calls for an action and can end in a vote). This debate was a debate on a substantive motion.

Interactive explainer: Backbench Business debates

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.

MPs debate school attendance and SEND

On Tuesday 23 January, MPs took part in a Westminster Hall debate on school attendance.

The debate was led by Vicky Ford MP, and Education Minister Robert Halfon MP responded to the debate on behalf of the Government.

MPs discussed the context for increased levels of persistent absence, including provision for special educational needs and disabilities.

What is a Westminster Hall debate?

Westminster Hall is the second chamber of the House of Commons. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local and national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Westminster Hall debates are general debates that do not end in a vote.

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.