HACKNEY Council has sent a strongly worded letter of warning to the Government, to pay up on special educational needs and disabilities for children and make up £10m shortfall in funding.

Cllr Caroline Woodley, Cabinet Member for Family, Early Years and Play, said: “As a Council, Hackney has long been raising concerns with the Government about the SEND funding crisis.

“Prior to last year’s budget, Councils across the country came together to tell the Government as clearly as we could that we had reached breaking point. The Government subsequently announced extra funding for SEND and allocated Hackney a further £4m, but this was less than half of the extra funding we required.”

Cllr Caroline Woodley

She added: “We’ve been forced since to seek out one-off grants, make savings elsewhere and dip into our reserves, and with pressures brought by Covid-19 it is clear that this is no longer an option. The Government must change its funding model to keep up with the increasing demand.”

A £10million shortfall in the cost of providing vital support for more than 2,000 vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young adults in Hackney last year shows why the government’s funding freeze on special educational needs and disabilities must end, Hackney Council is warning ministers.

In a letter to Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Education, the Council has called for a new funding model to help pay for services which have reached breaking point since the government gave councils responsibility for helping more pupils without the funds to match.

Local authorities across the country are now responding to increases in demand for care plans for disabled children and young adults. In Hackney 2,308 pupils now have Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs) outlining support needs, at a cost of £9.9million last year – only £4million of which was covered by the additional government funding announced last year.

Read the letter in full –



2 July 2020



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