Unions demand increase in special education funding

Furious last minute lobbying for additional funding for schools, colleges and pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is under way in the run-up to next week’s spending review.
Leaders of the biggest teaching unions had an hour-long meeting with the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, on Thursday, and made their case for more money for struggling schools as part of a long-term funding plan. Letters have also been sent to the Department for Education (DfE) and the Treasury, urging the government to boost funding for special needs and post-16 education, which have been hard hit in recent years. Earlier this week the Guardian revealed confidential plans by the government for a raft of education measures including billions of pounds in funding, a crackdown on student behaviour and a further wave of free schools, due to be announced in time for the start of the new school year. Williamson told union leaders he would not comment on the leaked document, which included plans for an extra £2.8bn for primary and secondary schools up to the age of 16, including £800m for children with SEND. Details of an extra £800m for sixth form and further education colleges were said to be still under discussion with the Treasury.

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