Pupils Inflicting Important Budgets Points or “Particular Training is Wiping Us Out”
By Anne Dachl
Every week when I look through the stories I’ve collected loss of brain trust, I’m looking for the one that really caught my attention.
This week it was one from Great Britain
The Northamptonshire Telegraph ran the story North Northants students are being forced into expensive out-of-county internships as special schools are packed to capacity.
Subtitle: The High Needs District Budget in the North runs a deficit of £2.3m [$3.1M U.S.]
History painted a rather bleak picture of the costs facing the district council.
Financing bottlenecks and lack of space For some of the most vulnerable students in the north of the county, they are causing significant budgetary pressures on education chiefs. Because many of our special schools and mainstream schools are at capacity or overwhelmed, children are being educated in out-of-county schools that have places that come with a staggering increase Costs.
The number of Education, Care and Health Schemes (EHCPs) administered in the county is growing steadily and North Northants Council’s education department also has £2.1million to deal with [$2.8M] Hole in special education budget inherited from Northamptonshire County Council – plus a £300,000 overspending [$402K] and increasing this fiscal year.
“Our special schools are being utilized at a very high level,” he said. “A lot of people are really overwhelmed since courts require them to adopt their published registration number (PAN). …
The government’s Department of Education funds schools through its Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), which is split into four parts – one of which is known as the High Needs Block. The report to members of the Schools Forum states: “In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of students who have been diagnosed with SEND and among those who need an EHCP, students who need alternative support, and students who need subject-specific support. This shows no signs of slowing down. “As a result, many local authorities have found that the high needs block is insufficient to fully meet identified needs. …
“For now, there is growth from year to year in these areas and with this sustained demand on the HNB.”
Mr Goddard said there was a historic £2.115million overspending [$2.84M] brought forward by the former Northamptonshire County Council, which dissolved in April 2021, and that £300,000 has already been added [$406,000] additional expenses for this financial year, which is expected to continue to grow. He said: “We have to take expensive special schools places outside of the county because our special schools are full and that causes expenses. The number of EHCPs in the entire system is constantly increasing.
Just as in the United States, disabled students have a right to a free and decent education, and if the local county school cannot provide it, the non-county schooling council must pay for schooling outside of the county.
This year’s NNC budget for out-of-county placement increases was £7.2m [$9.8M], but forecasts show the real cost could be as high as £9.3m [$12.6M] – £2.1m [$2.8M] Difference. Rob Hardcastle, Chief Executive of Hatton Academies Trust, said 86 per cent of the overspending was due to these posts and asked whether this was due to capacity issues or because we at Northants did not have the expertise required.
Mr Goddard said: “We will always have to take specialist placements outside of the county because We simply cannot meet the needs of every child locally.
“However, our special schools are full and so that the school children do not remain without a school place longer than absolutely necessary, we have to use the higher costs … places more than we would like.
The ending was really ominous:
Amid an increasing number of children requiring EHCPs, the committee heard that there had been “deep concern” about funding a high need, which was introduced in 2017. The education sector told the committee that the level of funding was “unsustainable” and had not kept pace with rising demand. Dave Hill, Executive Director for Children, Families and Learning at Surrey Council, told the committee: “If we can’t address the issues with SEND funding, the whole system will eventually implode.”
The scary part is that reporter Kate Cronin never asked why there is “continued growth” and “unsustainable demand” for special education teachers in Northampton schools.
simply put, Why are more disabled children filling schools?
It’s the obvious factor behind all the rest of the story, sadly it’s never talked about.
They just need to increase funds and build more schools.
And be prepared, next year the numbers will increase.
There was also a story of the London Borough of Hillingdon with a pretty strong language. The play was titled Labor says the special needs school’s debt is more than the council’s reserves.
That was a bit of an understatement compared to the facts of the situation.
Labor spokesman Cllr Kerri Prince claims the council is trying to secure a government bailout to avoid it Bankruptcy.
She speaks of a cumulative deficit of £38m [$51M] until the end of March in the high educational needs The budget is higher than the Council’s general reserves.
Travistock (SW England) Again, the Council is struggling with rising costs.
The boss of Devon County Council has described the special educational needs funding system as ‘Broken’ as the Authority’s total spending is expected to rise to nearly £90m [$122M].
It seems like there was a vain attempt to kick the can out onto the street.
The government has directed councils to segregate overspending for support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) for three years through April 2023 while it develops a new plan to fund delivery. This means Devon’s effective debt to the service – currently forecast to be worth £88million [$119M] until April – is currently not one of the main sales figures. However, the council is concerned about what will happen when the ring-fencing arrangement ends next year.
It’s not just Devon.
dr Norrey described it as “a national problem”. He said the government is expected to publish a consultation paper on changing the system “based on the experience that this is a broken system. It doesn’t really work. It’s not delivering what parents and caregivers want and is financially unsustainable across the country.
We were left with a warning.
However, Councilor Alan Connett (Lib Dem, Exminster & Haldon), leader of the opposition, expressed concern at the debt figure, warning: “£88.1m [$119M] is more than 50 percent of the Council’s free reserves – it’s a significant shortfall that the Council bears.’
Meanwhile, they continue to build special schools costing millions while officials couldn’t be happier.
Stockton (NE England) A new school for autistic children is being completed. Cost: $1.7 million.
We were told it was “very exciting” and the council is “delighted”.
Albrighton (Central England) Plans to convert a farmhouse into a residential special school have been approved. It will “help meet demand” at a price of $2.4 million.
It can accommodate 18 children. We’re also told it will create “up to 65 jobs.”
Fakenham (E. England) A new school for autism has opened. It is “part of a $162 million program to combat the disease constantly increasing demand for specialist training positions throughout the district.”
It has a capacity for 100 children.
The program will create 500 additional new special school places.
Aughnacliffe A local school added a $13,000 autism classroom.
County Offaly A school announced the opening of a sensory space.
…the room is used by students who need sensory breaks due to sensory dysregulation.
The space provides a soothing environment for those whose senses are overwhelmed by the everyday encounters of school life.
County Cork Parents are desperate for secondary school places for their autistic children.
Parents and children in Cork “feel like they’re falling off the edge of a cliff” as they make the leap from primary to secondary school when it comes to people with special educational needs, a local TD has claimed….
The key figure provided by the NCSE is that 193 elementary schools have ASD offerings for students, and only 70 are available at the secondary level.
News from the US is limited and not really earth shattering when it comes to autism/special education.
There was one notable exception. A story from Brooklyn, NY was a dose of reality.
A new six-story yeshiva for 150 autistic students is being considered. The rabbi in charge said that “parents approached him and asked him to open the school…
“The need is growing, autism is growing, according to the CDC.”
Anne Dachel is Media Director for Age of Autism.