Emma Hardy, the MP for Hull West and Hessle, has berated the government’s school funding formula for hitting SEN children hardest.
Emma’s comments came in an opposition day debate on school funding in Parliament this afternoon.
Commenting after the debate, Emma said: “Since this government took power in 2010, they have introduced drastic and detrimental changes to our education system. Teacher recruitment and retention rates are extremely low and one in ten young people now has a mental health problem. The curriculum has effectively been narrowed to focus on maths and English at the expense of all other subjects.
“All the while there is still not enough money available in the education system and lots of schools are losing out. Some of the hardest hit pupils will be those with special educational needs. It is disgraceful that we have reached a point where headteachers need to be writing to the Education Secretary to ask him for more money to fill the deficit that his government’s policies have left in the Hull High Needs Budget. I’m completely on the side of the headteachers and will be pushing the government to end this false economy and stop trying to fund schools on the cheap. Because if you pay cheap, you end up paying twice.”
Notes for Editors
- As many as 526 children aged four and under in Hull have been identified as displaying challenging behaviour or SEN.
- The number of pupils in Hull with EHCPs – a measure of more complex special educational needs and disabilities – rose to 1,226 last year, according to , following a steady increase over the past decade.
- This equates to 3% of the city’s total school population, higher than the national average of 2.8%.
- But in Hull, the High Needs Budget is £2.2 million in deficit.
- In March, the Guardian ran an article that said that Hull schools have reached breaking point after head teachers wrote to the Education Secretary to warn him that they no longer had the resources to properly look after children with SEN.
- Specialist schools and pupil referral units are all full and mainstream schools are finding it virtually impossible to deal with the influx of children with specialist needs or challenging behaviour.
- In the letter, the headteachers wrote “Mainstream schools are increasingly having to resort to fixed-term and permanent exclusion to deal with challenging pupils. This is despite the best efforts of dedicated staff in schools. There is a feeling that something has to change or schools will implode.”
- The Headteachers say that they need a further £5 million to fix the problem and ensure that no child is left behind.
- More widely, the Government’s national funding formula has seen school budgets decimated leading to higher class sizes and staff redundancies. Secondary Schools in Emma’s constituency of Hull West and Hessle have lost on average £1.46 million in funding since 2015, an average of £476 per pupil. For Primary schools, those figures are £723,022 in funding lost and £139 per pupil.