In a speech at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) annual conference in Telford, Education Secretary, Damian Hinds made a request to schools to submit their views on Government’s spending. The request was made in regards to complex needs of young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). NAHT is a representative body of head teachers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Hinds pointed out that special needs schools were left ‘struggling’ to meet the demands of specially challenged pupils. According to reports of NAHT, the current situation with SEND children was rather bleak and the only solution lay in increased funding.
A budget for the Treasury by the Department for Education (DfE) is underway and Hinds has made funding for high needs a priority. “I’ve made clear that I will back head teachers to have the resources they need to provide the best education possible for every child – that ambition is no different for children with SEND, nor should it be.” The DfE is set to launch evidence of the funding arrangements made for the pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. The evidence will run until the end of July.
NAHT’s general secretary, Paul Whiteman, was touched by the action call taken by Hind and the DfE. In his statement, he shed light on the funding crisis in schools. The arrangement came precisely at the right time, when it could not have been alleviated without improvisations on the financial support. Studies show, that nearly one-third of the head teachers surveyed by the NAHT were facing the struggle to replace staff members, and the number of teachers leaving the profession grew continually. This also made it difficult to retain experienced teachers. The DfE is also drawing plans to make the profession of teaching attractive to professionals.
Previous reports reveal that the local authorities have curbed on special needs provision. This led to an increase in legal actions by the student’s parents. They prioritized the security of children’s entitlement. According to a report of the Local Government Association (LGA), the councils in England estimate a funding gap of more than £500m for SEND this year.