House of Commons Debate: Special educational needs and disabilities funding, 12 February 2019

The average annual cost to a council of a special needs placement in 2017/18, was £6,000 per pupil per year in a mainstream school, compared with £23,000 per pupil per year in a maintained special school, and £40,000 per pupil per year in an independent or non-maintained special school.


Key messages

  • All children deserve access to the best possible education. Data shows that council-maintained schools receive better Ofsted ratings, and improve more quickly, than academy schools. Analysis undertaken on behalf of the LGA found that ninety-one per cent of maintained schools are now rated as either good or outstanding.
  • Councils are telling us that pressures on the High Needs funding block is one of the most serious financial challenges that they are currently dealing with. We have therefore commissioned research to look at the scale of the high needs funding pressures facing councils .
  • We welcome the Government’s additional investment announced at the end of last year of £365 million across 2018/21 – it includes £250 million over 2018-19 and 19-20 for high needs budgets and a further £100 million on capital. However independent research commissioned by the LGA found that councils face an estimated funding gap of up to £1.6 billion by 2021.
  • We are calling on the Government to address the lack of funding for supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in this year’s Spending Review. We are concerned that unless additional funding is made available, councils will not be able to meet their statutory duties to support children with SEND.
  • More children with special needs are now being educated outside of mainstream schools for the first time ever. Latest school census figures show that 52 per cent of the 268,545 children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) were placed in state special schools, alternative provision, or independent and non-maintained special schools in 2018.
  • The average annual cost to a council of a special needs placement in 2017/18, was £6,000 per pupil per year in a mainstream school, compared with £23,000 per pupil per year in a maintained special school, and £40,000 per pupil per year in an independent or non-maintained special school.

Download the full briefing
House of Commons Debate: Special educational needs and disabilities funding