The number of children in England approaching councils for special needs support has increased by almost a quarter in a year, latest figures reveal, with 170 young people now starting support plans each day.
“The Government’s announcement of an increase in schools budgets by £7.1 billion will help give certainty up to 2023, and an additional £780 million for council high needs budgets to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for next year is good news."
The Early Years Local Government Programme has been instrumental in helping councils shape priorities and improve services and prospects for children and families, an independent external evaluation has found.
"The impacts of COVID-19 will be with us for years to come. They will show up in economic hardship, mental health issues, attainment gaps and more, and it will be up to councils, schools and their partners to support children and their families to navigate these challenges."
“Schools and councils need to focus on providing education during the pandemic, without any unnecessary distractions. This is why we are urging Ofsted to postpone the resumption of monitoring inspections for schools, either in-person or virtual, until after February half-term at the earliest.”
Councils stand ready to help the Government prioritise disadvantaged pupils in its education recovery plan and to prevent the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and young people and their peers from widening further as a result of the pandemic.
“It is clear that demand for places is significantly higher during this national lockdown, meaning schools have been placed in the invidious position of balancing safe pupil numbers in school with the higher expectations of the delivery of up to five hours a day of lessons online.”