Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 8 September 2021

Schools funding crisis fails vulnerable children

photo Staff Sgt Alex Fox Echols/USAF/CC

photo Staff Sgt Alex Fox Echols/USAF/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Rachel Lyon, Waltham Forest Socialist Party and SEND worker

Schools face a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) funding crisis, a £1 billion shortfall in funding. The £730 million budget increase announced for 2021-22 won't touch the sides, and will see council SEND budget deficits continue to grow.

Since the 2014 Education Act introduced the change from 'statements' to 'educational, care and health plans' (ECHPs) to determine what funding is given to meet children's needs, the number of children entitled to funding has seen a 25% rise.

We are told that schools can't cope with these demands, but surely the answer is to request the government for more money? After all, the government bailed out the banks in 2008, and big business throughout the pandemic. We need an immediate injection of funding to wipeout council SEND budget deficits.

Labour councils like ours in Waltham Forest, east London, should refuse to make cuts, spend what is needed to meet children's needs, and demand the money from the government. This stand could help mobilise demonstrations of parents and staff and be the start of a campaign for a fully funded education system accessible for all children regardless of their ability or need.

In March, in partial admission of the crisis, the Department for Education announced £100 million of 'safety valve agreements', or bailouts, for the five local authorities with the biggest SEND budget deficits, but under strict conditions of these councils making further cuts.

Waltham Forest Borough Council has a £7.97 million deficit and did not get a bailout. Our borough has decided to cut 10% from the budget for those children who have a band E or F ECHP. Our borough has the highest number of children with an EHCP, and statistics show there will be a 25% increase each year.

Waltham Forest's own SEND ethos states: "Children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will achieve well in early years, at school, at college and lead happy and fulfilled lives"

It should read: "Prepare for a lifelong battle for your child's rights in education". The reality is that a child's EHCP plan is treated as a wish list, not a legal document. Under budget pressures, and without the same level of scrutiny as schools under direct local authority control, academies can be a law unto themselves, with high exclusion rates amongst SEND pupils.

As an education worker I am inundated with horror stories of children being excluded, not because of their challenging behaviour, but because of the lack of experienced staff and adequate training in schools.

Initially it was hard to hear parents make formal complaints that their child was not getting the 1:1 support on their ECHP, but this is now a regular complaint. I think it should be mandatory for all schools to provide a sensory room, training, provision and essential therapies.

In 2020, two families, alongside many witnesses, took Waltham Forest Borough Council to the high court to legally challenge the 10% reduction in band E and F funding. The families argued that this level of funding doesn't meet ECHP requirements.

The courts found that the council has a legal obligation to meet assessed needs and the priority to regard the ECHP as a legal document, but failed to find that the council has acted unlawfully. The campaigners correctly point out that the councils actions are both unethical and unjust.

We need to unite whole school communities to fight for the funding young people deserve, and to fight school job cuts. We need councils to refuse to pass on cuts, and demand the funding from government. We need to address the disastrous effect of academisation for SEND children.

Parents, education workers, trade unions and young people need to stand together in opposition. This should include standing in the local elections for 2022 with a position of no cuts. Our community needs a voice!

There is never a good reason to make cuts to education. Our children deserve more and shouldn't pay the price for Covid. The disadvantages SEND children face are already huge in this capitalist society, they don't need more!

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 8 September 2021:

NHS and social care

NHS and social care - make the rich pay, not the workers

Workers shouldn't pay for health and social care plans

End service cuts and care charges

Families demand rights for care home residents

Whipps Cross hospital workers reject the 3%

What we think

A pivotal moment for the trade union movement

Socialist Party news and campaigns

Socialist Party national council - members enthused by excellent in-person meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Union action needed to make schools Covid safe

Fighting NEU leadership needed to tackle school funding crisis

Schools funding crisis fails vulnerable children

University bosses push through pension cuts proposal

9/11 twenty years on

9/11 and the 'War on Terror' twenty years on

Workplace news

Bexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

Equity protest to save arts centre forces talks from Newham Council

DWP: Demand safe working and more jobs

DHL workers to strike against wage theft

Youth Fight for Jobs

Organising to defend our future: 9 October- Youth fight for jobs day of action

Building Youth Fight for Jobs in the South West

International news

Libya - ten years after Gaddafi's overthrow

US Supreme Court refuses to challenge Texas abortion ban

Keep fascists out of Portland: Build a mass movement to fight the right

Readers' opinion

The street I live on

Socialist change, not climate change

Vigil: A nuclear sub murder mystery


Obituary: Roger Henshaw, comrade and class fighter


Home   |   The Socialist 8 September 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleDefending abortion rights in the US

triangleVictory! Hackney children's centres saved

triangleHackney children's centres: Campaigners see through council deception

triangleCarlisle says make the richest pay, not the poorest!

triangleThe fight for Hackney's children's centres continues


trianglePerfect storm brewing in education

triangleOaks Park School: valiant strike exposed state of schools

triangleCovid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

triangleUnion action needed for Covid safety


triangleFighting fees and marketisation after 2 March student walkout

triangleTories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

triangle"If we don't fight, we won't win!"


triangleNewham City Farm - closed with no consultation

triangleBrighton Green and Labour cuts - workers and communities fight back


triangleBirmingham: Cuts consultations replaced by computer game

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



The Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party



Vote Nellist for a workers' MP in Erdington



Unite and fight for a decent pay rise



Privatisation and crisis in the NHS



Johnson scraps Covid safety measures



Tories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history



Bus services under threat



PCS Elections 2022: Time for new union leadership



Britain's economic growth figures mask fragile false recovery



Covid: Fight for full sick pay



'Labour by name - Tory by policy'



Tory stealth taxes burden 'packhorse generation'



Left Labour MPs under pressure over Erdington



Neither Washington, London nor Moscow



Met police boss ousted

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022