Special Education Needs labels doubled in 20 years while the financial support is dropping

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Every fifth child is labeled with a Special Needs statement, which is double the number from 20 years ago, the latest Department for Education statistics show.

The Release figures show that in 2010 more than 30 000 children between the age of two and four were assessed by schools or nurseries as having special needs. This is a 19 per cent raise from two years ago.

An additional 8,280 were diagnosed by a multi-agency team as requiring a formal ‘statement’ of need. This is a legal document that outlines the support they are entitled to, marking an 8 per cent rise on 7,700 in 2008.

Daily Mail reported a warning from senior Government adviser and expert on special needs, Philippa Stobbs, that: “Schools are over-labeling special needs to cheat league tables and attract more funding”.

The number of the schools affected by the recent budget cuts which cancelled the Building Schools for the Future programme, has been specified.

Partnerships for Schools’ spokesperson said:

“145 Special Education Needs schools and 60 Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) have been affected by the announcement to review the BSF programme.”

Responding to the concerns, Department for Education spokesman said:

“The review of capital will look at how we can offer better value-for-money; make school building cost-efficient and quicker; and ensure money is targeted at schools with the greatest need, including special schools and those with provision for Special Education Needs.”

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