April 2018 Briefing: London Local Elections

Our asks for London

18.3% of pupils in London have SEND compared to a national figure of 17.9% [1] and are at significantly higher risk of being excluded and segregated than the general pupil/student population. Over the past few years London schools have faced real cuts to their budgets, disproportionately affecting Disabled children through reductions in SEN support services, pastoral care and specialist teachers [2].

At the same time, London boroughs are spending more than other regions on expensive out of borough placements, due to the lack of suitably funded local mainstream school placements [3]; and so as a result of funding priorities, Disabled pupils’ and students’ human rights to inclusive education have been violated, as families have been forced to opt for out of borough segregated placements.

The UN Disability Committee recommended in its Concluding Observations, published in August 2017, that the UK government should develop a “co-ordinated and comprehensive framework for an inclusive education system”. We believe that local authorities have a fundamental role in promoting an inclusive education system by supporting their local schools to maintain and expand inclusive education practice; in particular by decreasing the funding of expensive out of borough placements and increasing funding for support of Disabled children in mainstream schools.

Local councillors have a real say over the local SEND budget which is an opportunity to steer the council towards making a financial investment into the promotion of Disabled pupils’ and students’ human rights to inclusive education.

We are asking candidates to pledge to:

  • Oversee the co-production of an inclusive education policy between council, schools, Disabled pupils and students (including those with SEN) and their families as part of the Local Offer.
  • Use the SEND budget, including savings from out of borough placements, to build the capacity of local mainstream schools to broaden their intake of Disabled pupils and students (including those with SEN).
  • Develop and coordinate the strategic role that the local council has in commissioning joint education, health and care services to better support the placement of Disabled pupils and students in mainstream schools and colleges.
  • Fund and commission an inclusive education service that all local schools and colleges can access to build their capacity to share and develop inclusive education practice.
  • Commit to review the Local Offer to ensure it reflects the ‘presumption for mainstream education’ principle as set out in the Children & Families Act 2014.

Please contact ALLFIE if you would like to talk about our asks.

We have also contributed to the Inclusion London local election toolkit, which has more information on this opportunity to get Disabled people’s voices heard.


[1] London Councils (2016) Do The Maths

[2] London Councils (2017) The school funding crisis Head Teachers speak out on the impact of insufficient funding for schools

[3] National Audit Commission (2007) Out of Authority Placements for Special Educational Needs