From education to employment

Government delivering on 60,000 more special needs places

  • Government creating new SEND and AP places to meet children’s needs as councils are to receive a record £850 million cash boost
  • Funding will help to end families fight for the right support for their children to thrive
  • An additional £1.8billion will be allocated to refurbish school buildings improving learning environments for years to come

Children across the country are to benefit from billions of pounds of investment to ensure they receive an education that meets their needs in high-quality environments for years to come and families are given peace of mind that their children will be looked after. 

A record annual investment of £850m is going to councils to create new places for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and in Alternative Provision (AP) in mainstream and special schools, and to improve the accessibility of existing buildings. 

This will provide specialist support for children with autism, learning difficulties, mobility difficulties and more to meet their extra needs, including extra encouragement in their learning, help communicating with other children and support with physical or personal care difficulties, such as using the toilet or getting around the school safely.  

The Government is sticking to the plan to ensure every child can receive the education they need to succeed, where hard work is rewarded and aspiration is celebrated. The funding is part of the £2.6 billion investment between 2022 and 2025 – more than tripling the previous levels of investment – to help to put an end to families having to fight for the right support for their children. 

When combined with the places already being created by the special free schools programme, this funding is creating over 60,000 new places across the country.

This is helping to increase capacity, following a decrease in pupils in special schools from 1997 to 2010. 

Additionally, schools and sixth form colleges will benefit from £1.8 billion in funding to help maintain their buildings. This funding will support schools to invest in projects like refurbishing classrooms, improving playgrounds and installing new windows, as well as larger projects such as upgrading heating systems, replacing roofs or rewiring electrical systems.

The government has now allocated over £17 billion since 2015 to improve school buildings for generations to come. On top of this the School Rebuilding Programme is transforming over 500 schools across England.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

“All too often I hear from parents with children who have special educational needs having to fight to get the right support. That’s why this Government has a plan to deliver 60,000 more places that meet the needs of these pupils and their families.

“We are also continuing to invest in the school estate, so all children are taught in the best classrooms for generations to come.

“Whether in special or mainstream schools, we’re ensuring every child gets a world-class education, and the support they need to reach their potential.”

Eden Academy Trust is one of the trusts that has been successfully selected to run one of the 30 new special free schools in Hillingdon. It will provide vital, specialist support 180 children with autism and severe learning difficulties in London.

CEO of the Eden Academy Trust Susan Douglas said:

“We know the life-changing impact that a successful special school can have on pupils and families and we are proud to work with the DfE and local authorities to expand places where we can so that more pupils are in the right setting.”

As part of the funding to improve school buildings, the Government is today confirming 733 schools and sixth form colleges will benefit from the £450 million Condition Improvement Fund (CIF).

Previous rounds of CIF funding saw Droitwich Spa High School and Sixth Form Centre in Worcestershire replace windows which has helped to keep classrooms warm and reduce their energy bills.

Meanwhile, Green Gates Academy in Stockton-on-Tees created spaces for children with social, emotional and mental health problems to help regulate their emotions in a calm setting and help them engage in learning. In the Wirral, Calday Grange Grammar School replaced a dilapidated teaching block with a modern music and drama building.

This investment will address problems with school buildings that were identified as part of the government’s condition data collection, one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys or school building condition in Europe, which helps target funding to where it is most needed. This is the first UK Government in history to fund schools based on a national assessment of the need of their buildings.

Early indications from our ongoing new data collection survey show that in almost every case significant issues previously identified in the first condition survey have been resolved.

In addition to our capital investment, schools are benefitting from the highest levels of funding in history totalling more than £60 billion. This Government’s record investment, is helping to deliver on plans to ensure every child gets a world-class education.

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