Alliance for Inclusive Education statement on the budget cuts to SEND provision
Press release 22/03/2018
Disabled children (including those with SEN) in mainstream schools are facing the biggest attack on their human rights to participate in mainstream education in a generation. Despite the government promoting greater parental choice for SEND provision in announcing their SEN Grant scheme, less money is following disabled children into mainstream schools. Up and down the country mainstream schools are being forced into cutting teaching staff including SEND support and resource provision, which is having a negative impact upon disabled pupils’ access to mainstream education whilst SEN funding is being shifted into special school provision. Increasingly cash-strapped local authorities are being forced to shell out up to £250,000 per pupil if his or her needs cannot be met within any local provision.
Such pressures on SEND budgets are undermining local authorities’ and government’s obligations to champion inclusive education practice. Only last year the Local Government Association warned government that local authorities would be failing in their duties to promote the presumption of mainstream education for disabled children if the cuts continued as planned.
Also in 2017 the UN Disability committee found that the government’s education funding policies of not investing in mainstream education are a breach of disabled pupils’ and students’ rights to mainstream education under Article 24.
ALLFIE’s campaigns co-ordinator, Simone Aspis said “We want government to adopt SEND funding policies that will develop an inclusive education system and build the capacity of mainstream schools to become inclusive of all pupils and students regardless of ability.”