Local authorities share £36 million for special educational needs and disability reforms

The £35.8 million grant is an increase on funding given last year, and will help with move to education, health and care plans

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Local authorities will share almost £36 million of funding from the government to help implement reforms to special educational needs and disability (SEND) support.

Announced last week, the £35.8 million grant is an increase on support given by the government last year, which was £31.7 million.

The Children and Families Act 2014 reformed SEND support so all children with special educational needs or a disability would receive an education, health and care (EHC) plan. Children who were on a package of support before 2014, known as a special educational needs statement, should be moved onto an EHC plan by 2018.

Funding continues to 2018

In total, £80 million of investment for children with disabilities was announced by the government last week. This included £27.3 million for the Family Fund Trust to support low income families with disabled children, £15 million to fund the independent supporters programme, and £2.3 million for Parent Carer Forums.

The government also announced that the funding, initially for 2016-17, would continue to 2018 to ensure new systems for disabled children were implemented fully by April 2018.

Andrew Christie, chair of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services’ health, care and additional needs policy committee, said the £4 million increase in the grant funding for local authorities “will go some way towards helping us ensure that we have sufficient capacity to meet some of the demands of implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014”.

Children’s minister Edward Timpson said the reforms put families at the heart of the process “but we know there is still more to do”.

“Our vision for children with special educational needs and disability is simple: that their aspirations are as high as any other young person, that they dream big, achieve well at school and college, and lead fulfilling, happy lives,” Timpson said.

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