Read DYT’s education policy round up with a literacy and SEND focus.
29th October 2018
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond has just delivered his budget statement to MPs – in today’s budget special briefing we round up what it means for education… and what else DYT would have like to have seen included.
Mr Hammond told the House of Commons that the “era of austerity is coming to an end” – but was that the case for education and children’s services?
- The headline for schools was a one-off £400m capital funding this year to help schools “buy the little extras they need.” This is worth an average of £10,000 for primary schools and £50,000 for secondary schools primarily to help purchase equipment.
- There will be £650m of grant funding for English councils for 2019-20 and an additional £45m for the disabled facilities grant in England in 2018-19.
- There’s an investment of £2 billion more per year for mental health including new school units, which will be staffed by professionals with mental health qualifications, will be linked into new “specialist crisis teams” for young people in every part of the country.
- Any new money for schools is welcome and the £400m is an opportunity to invest in making schools more accessible and into assitive technology, which can help to support learners with literacy difficulties in class. As far as capital funding goes however, this will be a drop in the ocean – the National Audit Office reported £6.7 billion in capital expenditure was needed to bring all school buildings up to a satisfactory standard.
- Similarly, Local Authorities saw an injection of funding but given this is against a backdrop of a 50 per cent fall in their budgets, services are still at risk. For instance, DYT research has exposed a dyslexia specialist postcode lottery as the legacy of a £10 million Government funding pledge lies in tatters.
- There was no new funding for the school block grant, which the School Cuts Campaign claim has been cut by over £2bn. The NAHT have commented that the Treasury is spending “more on potholes than pupils.”
- DYT joined 120 other organisations to insist that urgent action must be taken to put children and SEND at the heart of Government spending plans. There was no mention of the high needs block in the statement, which is a missed opportunity to ease pressure on councils and schools to provide for the 1.2 million SEND learners in our schools.
Without adequate funding, young people with literacy difficulties cannot access the support they need. Our greatest concern is the impact that pressures on school budgets has had on these learners.
The education community will have to gear up for next year’s comprehensive spending review for an increase in funding. DYT call on the Government to maintain funding in real terms in the face of inflation, cost increases and rising pupil numbers. We would also like to see funding guaranteed for the next five-ten years, in a similar way to the funding commitment made to the NHS.
If you missed it:
Prime Minister announces new research on SEND
Responding to a Prime Minister’s question on “seismic changes” to the number of SEND pupils, Theresa May disclosed that the Department for Education is “scoping new work that will help to lead to our understanding of such issues so that we can ensure that these children get the support that they need.”
Education Committee looks into SEND issues
In the second evidence session of the SEND inquiry the committee heard about the lack of transparency on how schools spend the £6,000 notional SEND budget, which was one of DYT’s main recommendations in our Joining the Dots report. Special Needs Jungle reflect on the session, welcoming the growing coalition that is campaigning for more SEND support.
Government response to Bercow: Ten Years On
The Government has formally responded to the Bercow: Ten Years On report. The RCSLT and I CAN issued a joint statement expressing concern that the proposals will not cover the vast majority of children and young people with speech, language and communication needs. DYT heard from the Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi last week.
Coming up this week:
- Tuesday: Parliamentary question on the importance of identification of spectrum conditions, such as dyslexia, ADHD and dyspraxia, on educational and other life outcomes in the House of Lords and NFER publish new report reflecting on the key factors impacting on teacher retention.
- Wednesday: Public Accounts Committee hears evidence on mental health services for children and young people.
- Thursday: House of Lords debates initiatives in early intervention in children’s lives that would improve the welfare, life chances and social mobility of young people in the UK.
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