Bristol City Council has released a new guide about how it plans to fund services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs in the city.
The council has come under fire in recent months after a Judicial Review in the summer found it did not follow the correct process for making cuts to the Send budget in Bristol.
Since then, Bristol City Council announced during a Send Motion at Full Council on 11 September, that £3M would be put back into Send funding.
A £2M of this will come from elsewhere in the schools budget and £700,000 will come from the General Budget.
Although the council describe this as a ‘quick fix’ they have confirmed they will not be making further cuts to Send funding in the 2019/20 budget.
Councillors will be asked to reconsider the High Needs Block budget at Full Council on Tuesday 13 November following a recommendation at Cabinet in October.
“We have accepted that we made mistakes when looking to make savings from our High Needs Block budget, which funds our SEND services, and we have apologised for this,” Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said.
“The review taught us that our prioritisation of equalities, specifically the way we consult and assess the impact of our decisions, must be better – and it will be.
“We now want to move forward and look at how we can improve the lives of children and young people with SEND over the longer term. Part of doing this involves proposing to restate the 2018/19 budget for the High Needs Block, without any savings proposals attached. But it’s also about taking a look at this from many different angles to come up with a robust plan about how we can improve things.
“We’ve been very transparent about the issues we are facing, from increasing demand for statutory plans to a chronic shortage of sufficient, sustainable funding from Government, and these problems are not going to go away. To overcome these challenges we will need to work together with families, schools and partners and we will be asking for everyone’s views on our new plan once it has been developed.”
For more information about future Send funding in Bristol, visit: https://news.bristol.gov.uk/news/bristol-council-releases-new-guide-to-funding-services-for-young-people-with-high-needs
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