The Government is failing children with special educational needs and disabilities. Without adequate high needs funding, thousands of children are losing out on a proper education and the support they need to learn. More than 8,500 children with special needs still don’t have an appropriate place in school. More than one million children with special needs don’t have adequate funding to help them access their education. Despite the government’s recent pledge for an additional £700m in funding for SEND, schools and local authorities are still facing a £1bn funding shortfall.

What you can do:

DfE call for evidence

This summer we asked our members working as SENDCOs and within Special Schools for feedback on their experiences of working within the High Needs sector in the current SEND funding crisis. We used their responses to inform the NEU’s submission to the DfE’s call for evidence into SEND and Alternative Provision funding, which was designed to come up with new ways to fix the broken SEND system.

As a result of member feedback, the NEU has called for:

  • Adequate and dedicated funding for the timely educational provision of children and young people with Special Needs and Disabilities. There is a £1.7bn shortfall in SEND which must be urgently addressed. All children have the right to access appropriate education.
  • Reduction in unnecessary and excessive workload for teachers working with children and young people with additional needs. Members highlighted the time consuming and often admin driven aspects of their working day, which keeps them from working directly with young people who need their specialist skills.
  • Greater consideration of the impact of mid-year movements of children with EHCPs on a school’s budget. Schools are not offered adequate and timely financial support to address unexpected provision for children who arrive after the start of the academic year. Schools should not have to simply “find the money” from elsewhere in an already over-stretched system.

Find out more about the DfE’s call for evidence

NEU SEND research

NEU research has found that 93% of local authorities have lost out on SEND funding since 2015 because of central government’s shortfall in special needs provision. You can find out how your LA is affected here.

Since 2015, 9 out of 10 local authorities have lost out on vital funding for children who need the most support. We must force the government to bring the #SENDcrisis to an end. See our SEND data release shortfalls in LA SEND funding

9 local authorities have issued fewer EHCPs than the national average and so have no funding shortfall.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said:

“This is clearly a crisis, with pupils and parents bearing the brunt of real-terms funding cuts and the wholly inadequate planning by Government. Last year, when the NEU won an additional £350m for children and young people with additional needs, the Government admitted that ‘more needs to be done’. We hold them to those words today. Get on with it.” 

Success story : our petition secured a SEND increase

Mary and Kevin have received an extraordinary letter from DfE minister Nadhim Zahawi admitting that the 34,000 signature petition delivered to the DfE in October by NEU and School Cuts supporters gave rise to this additional cash. But in the same letter Mr Zahawi admitted the extra money is only a “partial response” and that “more needs to be done” to support children and young people with SEND.

Watch and share Maria's story


A school governor of 21 years speaks to the impact of cuts on her school and SEND provision.

Every child deserves to learn and thrive, but cuts to school funding are putting this at risk.

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Posted by School Cuts on Saturday, 31 August 2018


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