The Prime Minister announced last Friday that a package of £14 billion will be invested in primary and secondary education between now and 2022/23. The deal includes £700 million extra for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in 2020/21.
Director of the Council for Disabled Children, Dame Christine Lenehan, responds:
It would be churlish not to welcome such significant funding for education after years of cuts. In particular, we are encouraged by the significant investment in helping children with special educational needs and disabilities, which should provide much needed support.
But talking tough to the gallery on school behaviour is easy for politicians. What is harder is responding to the circumstances of each child and the many different triggers that lie at the heart of their challenges. Punishing children for behaviour which is rooted in trauma, mental health needs, impairment or deprivation cannot be the way forward.’
This money is pledged at an acutely uncertain time, when promises made today may fall by the wayside as the wheel of fortune turns in Westminster.
We urge the Government to remember that education does not take place in a vacuum. Social conditions matter too. After a decade of austerity we still need a wider commitment from government to shore up other parts of the system buckling under pressure.
We need investment in public health and the early years so that parents can give our children the best start in life. We need properly funded child protection services so that our children can be kept safe from abuse and neglect. We need an end to the welfare policies that are driving an ever increasing number of our children into appalling poverty.
We will watch carefully as the detail underpinning the funding announcements emerge, and urge policymakers to be mindful of the parlous state that the nation’s schools, services and other support have fallen into.