Together for Short Lives has welcomed the government’s decision to invest £350million in improving support for children in England with complex special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We call on ministers to go further by using the Spending Review to meet the £1.5billion funding gap in health and social care for disabled children.
The funding boost, announced on 16 December by Education Secretary Damian Hinds, will provide councils with £250million to support children and young people with complex needs. A further £100million will be used to create more specialist places in schools for children with SEND. The government states that the fund will enable mainstream schools, colleges and special schools to meet the individual needs of children through facilities such as sensory rooms and specialist equipment.
“Every child, including those with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions, has a legal right to access education” said Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives. “Sadly, too many seriously ill children are effectively excluded from schools or colleges because they are unable to meet their often complex needs. I therefore welcome minsters’ decision to better support schools and colleges to provide the facilities that will help these children to achieve the educational outcomes they want from their lives.”
Together for Short Lives is now calling on the government to go further at the Spending Review to make sure that disabled children can access the lifeline health and social care support they need. We are members of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, a coalition of over 60 organisations, which published economic research showing a £1.5 billion funding gap for services needed by disabled children.
Andy Fletcher said: “Many children with SEND, including those with life-limiting conditions and their families, rely on a network of services and professionals to provide them with vital services such as short breaks for respite. Local authority budgets are now at breaking point; ministers across government must use the Spending Review as an opportunity to put services for disabled children on a sustainable, long-term footing.”
“Every child, including those with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions, has a legal right to access education”Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive, Together for Short Lives