Commenting on the National Audit Office report Support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities [SEND] in England, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This report makes clear the challenges facing schools and local authorities in their efforts to give the best possible support to SEND pupils.

“It is plain to anyone working in education that the levels of education funding for SEND pupils are inadequate. 93% of local authorities have lost out on SEND funding since 2015 because of central government’s cuts to special needs provision. Even after last week’s announcement of £700m more, schools are still £1bn short of what is needed.

“On the Conservatives’ watch, the real-terms funding crisis in schools and colleges has damaged the support available to SEND pupils. It has resulted in the letting go of teaching assistants and specialist staff. Meanwhile, the number of children with EHC plans increases.

“Last week, the Government announced a review of support for SEND pupils, but this is no help to those working on the frontline of teaching today. Children have one chance in education, and through dithering the Government is failing them.”