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Budget breakdown: positive news for SEN children

Child with down syndrome with parents
In this week's School Savvy blog, Matthew Revill, a seasoned educator and headteacher at a primary school, offers his insights into the implications of the Spring Budget for both our classrooms and homes.

You might have heard all the fuss about the new budget that came out in March. Some headlines were shouting about how there isn't any new funding for schools. Whilst that does sound worrying, especially for teachers and parents, if you take a closer look, it turns out there are some good things to come out of the budget.

New SEND schools

First up, some positive news for children with special needs (SEND). The budget includes £105 million to open 15 brand new SEND schools over the next few years. The government budget states that this will create over 2,000 additional places for children with special educational needs and disabilities across England.

That means more choices for parents and hopefully less pressure on the current programs. It's not a magic fix, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Additional support

Here's another win: early intervention. They’re creating 20 new alternative provision schools for children in need of additional support, which will create over 1,600 additional places across England. This is part of the government's 2021 Spending Review commitment to invest £2.6 billion capital in high needs provision. 

Unfortunately, schools are seeing more and more children who cannot cope in the mainstream classroom and so having an alternative offer available is vital to help meet their needs and also ensure all children in class receive the very best.

A helping hand for households

The budget also extended the household support fund! This is the one that helps families with things like school uniforms and those holiday lunches. It’s getting a £500 million boost, which means a little less stress on our wallets (and maybe a little more room for those back-to-school essentials).

The not-so-good news

Now, there are a couple of things that left us scratching our heads. What's happening with those tutoring programs that have been helping kids catch up after all the craziness of lockdowns? We're crossing our fingers they stick around, but we'll have to wait and see.

And then there's the not-so-great news about fixing up our school buildings. The budget for this has shrunk. We all love a fresh coat of paint, but safety and good learning spaces are super important too. 

So... the verdict?

This budget wasn't a straight-A report card, but it does have some promising parts. More options for SEND children, more early intervention and alternative provision for learners, and a helping hand for families – those are all things to celebrate! Keep an eye on those tutoring programs and building repairs, though and hopefully these will come through to help our schools provide the very best for all children.

Matt Revill is a primary school headteacher with over 20 years experience of working in schools. He has worked in a range of settings and currently works within a multi-academy trust of 14 schools. In his free time, he enjoys reading, computing, holidaying and spending time with his family and friends. Matt has a son who is currently working his way through A-levels at college.

Matt Revill photo