84% of schools think their SEND funding is inadequate

A new report from BESA's Compass Research programme has highlighted the declining situation of SEND in schools.

BESA surveyed 943 UK schools over the Autumn term to understand their experience of SEND provision.

The survey found that 70% of schools have seen a substantial increase in the number of pupils with special educational needs, but 84% of schools believe that their current SEND funding is inadequate.

For pupils with an EHCP, over 70% of schools believed current funding agreements to be inadequate with one in five schools describing their current funding situation as a 'serious safeguarding concern'.  

Whilst the recruitment and retention of SENCOs remains positive for most schools, there are significant challenges in recruiting and retaining support staff, with 83% of schools reporting serious issues in recruiting classroom support for SEND. 

Commenting on the report Caroline Wright, Director General of the British Educational Suppliers Association, said: "Our research paints a picture that will be all too familiar to those working in schools. Insufficient funding has placed schools as a front line support service when they should be able to focus on their primary purpose of delivering a brilliant education for SEND pupils. Whilst our members have been generally supportive of the SEND Improvement Plan, our research shows that there are immediate challenges that need to be resolved - we cannot allow children with SEND to be left behind, we need an immediate funding solution now. BESA calls on all political parties to pledge their commitment to tackling the immediate funding crisis in SEND, it is simply not enough to wait for the Improvement Plan to be implemented in 2026."

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the NEU, said: "The future for school funding is as bleak as it was in 2015 under George Osborne. Schools have had to manage high costs over the last few years with inadequate support from the Government. This survey of schools shows the vast majority will be forced to make cuts in their provision in the next year. The Government must stop making real terms cuts to school budgets and must protect the education of the next generation.”