Gloucestershire council scraps special needs funding plan

Special needs support Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gloucestershire County Council faces a £3.2m overspend in its high needs budget

Proposals to cut money from mainstream schools' funding to pay for children with special educational needs (SEN) have been scrapped.

Gloucestershire County Council announced the decision after the government said its schools will receive extra cash for SEN pupils.

The authority will receive an extra £1.35m from the government this year and the same next year.

One head teacher said it was a "small win" amid a wider funding shortfall.

Cotswold School's principal Will Morgan added: "There is still a long way to go before schools like ours are funded fairly.

"We are the lowest funded comprehensive in Gloucestershire this year - a county with one of the lowest funding rates in the country."

'Vulnerable children'

The authority is facing a £3.2m overspend in its SEN budget, but had "reluctantly" asked Education Secretary Damian Hinds to decide whether to plug £1.7m of it with money from central government allocated for the main schools budget.

All Gloucestershire schools were asked to accept a cut to help fill the deficit but head teachers had refused at a schools forum last month.

Head of Katharine Lady Berkeley School in Stroud, Andrew Harris said: "We are pleased that the secretary of state has recognised the serious funding pressure on the provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities by making additional funding available for these vulnerable children."

Councillor Richard Boyle said he was "really pleased" the government had "listened".

He said: "We understand Gloucestershire will receive £1.35m extra this year and the same next year.

"As a result we will be withdrawing the request for top-slicing of mainstream school funding.

"There is still a lot of work to be done here, by the council, schools, governors and teachers to work in partnership to keep these budgets under control, but this extra funding is welcome and will make a real difference."

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