moneyThe demand for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) places in London is rising, and more funding is needed to cope with this, a report has said.

The Do The Maths report, by London Councils, found that between 2011 and 2016, the number of pupils educated in dedicated SEND places in London rose by 23%, from 18,880 to 23,127 – more than twice the 10% increase seen across England as a whole.

In London, the majority of these places are provided by dedicated special schools, but there has also been strong growth in the number of dedicated SEND places in mainstream schools.

Planning for SEND places requires London boroughs to use their understanding of the existing needs of local children with SEN, likely future trends and analysis of whether local schools have the facilities as well as specialist services needed to support these pupils. 

Cllr Peter John OBE, London Councils’ executive member for children, skills and employment, said: “A more sophisticated method of funding SEND places is urgently needed in order to properly support children and young people with SEND who attend school in London, especially as that the number of pupils in the capital needing these places is rising.

“Creating school places for children with SEND in London costs on average £69,701 per place, depending on the type of school a child attends and access arrangements they require. For example, a child who uses a wheelchair may require a school with step-free access and wider doors and corridors, while a child with autistic spectrum disorder may require additional classroom support.

“We are calling on government to ensure boroughs receive the right level of funding to create SEND school places, and we are keen to learn how a recently-announced £200 million funding pot to support local authorities to create new school places for children with SEND will be allocated.”