Additional funds for local authorities to support SEND reforms

Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson this week announced that local authorities (LAs) are to receive an additional £45 million to help to support implementation of the special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms.

The new money will support LAs in giving young people and parents greater say over their personalised care and assistance. It will also put in place a new birth-to-25 system for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Ann Gross, Director of Special Needs and Children’s Services Strategy at DfE, wrote to all LAs in England, outlining the additional funding allocations. The allocations cover the 2014 to 2015 financial year, along with indicative amounts for 2015 to 2016. The funding is £45.2million for 2014-2015 and an indicative amount of £31.7million for 2015-16. This is additional to the £70 million SEN Reform Grant already provided to LAs in 2014-15.

It is concerning, however, that Gross said in her letter that LAs can spend this grant to help with additional costs associated with the new SEND system, but that they may also choose how to spend the money in order to best meet local need.