Local authorities face large bills to educate children with special needs in mainstream schools

Councils could be faced with a bill of between £38 and
£121 million per year to include children with special
educational needs in mainstream schools, according to an Audit
Scotland report, writes Clare Jerrom.

Section 15 of the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc Act
2000 means that, where possible, children with SEN should be
educated in mainstream schools. This would require councils
investing in schools to make them accessible, employing extra
staff, training staff, and providing NHS therapy services.

However, when Section 15 was inserted into the bill by amendment
at Stage 2, the financial memorandum which accompanied the bill was
not updated, the report said.

“Parliament must have a robust analysis of the potential
financial consequences when they are considering bills and
amendments,” the report says.

Last week, the outgoing president of the Educational Institute
of Scotland, Alana Ross, warned that some parents were being forced
to place children with SEN in mainstream schools against their

However, the Scottish executive announced last month that the
forthcoming Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland)
Bill would strengthen rights for parents and pupils and, in theory,
entitle parents of children with additional support needs to
request a place for their child in a special school.

Summary of report available

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