PM claim re extra for special needs schools was wrong

Janet Downs's picture

 We are increasing funding for SEND schools by £780 million…’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, PMQs, 29 January 2020

The PM was answering a question from Mohammad Yasin, Labour MP for Bedford.  Yasin said a bid for ‘desperately needed school improvements’ at Grange Academy, a school in Kempston for pupils age 5-19 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), had been rejected.   

The MP asked the PM to ‘urgently review the funding formula for capital and revenue’ so that SEND schools weren’t disadvantaged because they were small.

Regular readers will know the £780m isn’t just for pupils in SEND schools – a point highlighted in a Full Fact tweet:

The PM said funding for special needs schools was increasing by £780m. In 2019, the govt said it would increase funding for schools by £2.6bn in 2020/21 (in cash terms). £780m is for children with special needs, but not just for SEND schools.

It’s possible the PM’s reply was just a slip of the tongue.  But it isn’t the first time Johnson has repeated half-digested soundbites about education funding this month. 

The £780m SEND funding is, in any case, an inadequate amount which does little to address the crisis in SEND provision in England (see here and here).

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