What’s the story behind the special education funding case?

Special education needs and disabilities (SEND) cases in the country are growing. More families are getting involved in fighting for their rights towards government support on special education needs.

Court case on special education funding

A few days ago, a court ruling on a special education funding case has been dismissed and left families disappointed. After multiple attempts of parent complaints and court appeals, three families finally had the courage to bring it up to administrative court and filed the SEND funding case.

Unfortunately for the families, the court ruling favored the defendants, the court didn’t see any negligence on the government’s part in choosing the SEND funding beneficiaries. The court’s decision might have favored the government side, but it can’t be denied that school councils are indeed struggling to keep up with the rise in demand for SEND funding in different districts.

It is not a matter of discriminatory process that some families aren’t able to avail of the SEND support, it is the rise of applicants that forces us to filter out SEND cases according to its severity. We have to prioritize those who need more attention and funding the most, says a school council official.

Increase in demand for SEND support

School councils in England had already cut into the budget intended for state schooling just in order to accommodate additional families for the special education funds program.

What we need is additional funding for SEND support. The increase of SEND beneficiaries will only be addressed if additional funding will be provided.

An insider shared that around £200m was spent by school councils outside of the intended budget for SEND cases, for the span of three years. Despite these efforts made by the council, several children with SEND are still left out of the program. This just shows how much the demand for SEND support has changed over the span of a few years.

Just this year alone, there was an increase of 11% on the number of education beneficiaries, around 354,000 pupils in figures.

On a positive note, a bill was recently passed to put it an additional budget towards education funding for the next three years. The bill aims to provide £7 billion intended for schools around England and an additional £700m funds intended for special education needs and disabilities.

The court case of the three families might have been lost, but it awakened a greater cause. It awakened the reality behind the lack of support for SEND and thankfully the government had a positive response.