The UK government has announced a £215 million funding boost to help schools increase their capacity to accommodate children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Every local council will receive a minimum of £500,000 with more than half receiving at least £1 million. Councils will be free to invest the money as they see fit to help children and young people with education, health and care (EHC) plans access high-quality education.
The investment can be used in any mainstream setting including early years provision, special units and special schools. Possible uses include building new specialised classrooms for children with emotional, social and mental health difficulties; expanding existing classrooms to better accommodate those using mobility aids; purchasing mobility equipment; or even creating new storage facilities for wheelchairs.
Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson, said:
This government is determined to build a country that works for everyone — a country where every child has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential regardless of their background, and any challenges they may face.
We’ve already made the biggest changes for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in a generation, but we want to go further and build on that success. Our multi-million pound investment will enable local councils to build new classrooms and improve facilities for pupils, ensuring that no child is left behind.
Councils will be expected to consult with local parents, carers, schools, and others on how the extra funding is used. They will also be required to publish a short plan summarising their intentions.
The new fund follows the £23 million in the High Needs Strategic Planning Fund that was allocated to support local authorities in reviewing their provision for children and young people with SEND and make strategic plans to get the best outcomes.