Tag Archives: department for education

Government watchdog confirms the huge scale of the SEND funding crisis

The National Audit Office has today published their investigation into special educational needs support. Entitled “Support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in England“, it has revealed that more than four in five local authorities are overspending their high needs budget.

A couple of months ago I sent a survey to all headteachers in my constituency asking how education cuts affected their pupils. All the surveys returned highlighted cutbacks in SEND provision as being a huge area of concern.

1.3 million pupils in England are identified as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Over a million (79%) do not have Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

The NAO report looked at how well pupils with SEND were supported, examining

  • the system for supporting pupils with SEND (Part I);
  • funding, spending and financial sustainability (Part II);
  • the quality of support and experiences of pupils and parents (Part III).

The report is a long read – 60 pages – but includes detailed analysis and charts to outline the current dire state of affairs. The conclusions reached are:

How well pupils with SEND are supported affects their well-being, educational attainment and long-term life prospects….The system for supporting pupils with SEND is not, on current trends, financially sustainable. Many local authorities are failing to live within their high-needs budgets and meet the demand for support. Pressures – such as incentives for mainstream schools to be less inclusive, increased demand for special school places, growing use of independent schools and reductions in per-pupil funding – are making the system less, rather than more, sustainable. The Department needs to act urgently to secure the improvements in quality and sustainability that are needed to achieve value for money.

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LibLink: David Laws – Tories will cut schools spending by a quarter

Writing in today’s Telegraph, David Laws says that Tory plans will mean huge cuts to spending on schools:

The Conservatives are offering unfunded tax cuts, meaning they will have to go on making deep cuts to public spending – by far more than is necessary to balance the books.

This would be a huge threat to all we are achieving on education.

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Fraser Nelson attacks pupil premium using report that, erm, doesn’t attack pupil premium

fraser nelsonFraser Nelson is in bold form today: Spending more doesn’t improve public services.

His basis for this judgement is a report prepared for the Department for Education by Deloitte (available here). If there’s a headline conclusion it’s the fairly uncontentious point that simply spending money on schools does not, in itself, guarantee good outcomes. It matters at least as much how you spend it.

So far, so obvious. And if Fraser’s article had stuck to that basic conclusion it would’ve been fine. But he wanted to make a …

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Two-thirds of email newsletters sent to teachers and schools by the Department for Education are not read

Email inboxOnly a third of emailed newsletters and circulars sent out by the Department for Education to schools and teachers are read by the recipients according to new figures I have secured following a Freedom of Information request to the Department.

In 2012 the Department sent out 148,182 such emails, with their systems recording 49,504 of them as having  been read at least once (33%).

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Opinion: Getting back to sanity – EBC plans now dropped

The news about the abandonment of the EBC is to be welcomed by all interested in a progressive and inclusive education system. Is this beginning of the end of the regular Gove-ian, back of the envelope initiatives, which seem to have little to do with evidence-based, rigorous research and planning, and more to do with a kind of “Tom Brown’s Schooldays”, personal take on what makes for a good education? Somehow I doubt that. But at least it’s a start.

The education world has been suffering from major shock and awe style reforms and promises (threats?) of reform, such as EBCs …

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Sarah Teather MP writes: Pupil Premium – coming to a school near you

Usually it’s quite hard explaining how being a Liberal Democrat Minister in government makes a difference to the people in my constituency. But the Pupil Premium is an exception to that rule. It is a policy with two key characteristics – it has an identifiable impact in every local area, and it’s distinctively Liberal Democrat.

Today the Government released the final Pupil Premium figures for English schools. In the financial year 2011-12 schools are receiving £488 for each child on free school meals they have on their roll.

Anyone can visit the DfE website and search for their local …

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