Lambeth council spends more that £1M per year sending children to special schools OUTSIDE the borough

169Lambeth-plaxton-beaver3Lambeth council spends more than £1 million each year transporting children with special educational needs (SEN) to special schools outside of the borough.

Figures from January 2014 showed that over 400 children are educated out-of-borough, with transport costs amounting up to £1,117,286.93 per annum.

In response to a cabinet SEN review report in November 2012, the council are developing 105 additional places for children with SEN in mainstream schools and academies and an additional 110 places in special primary and secondary schools in the borough.

The annual cost per placement for out-of-borough SEN educational provision is £49,000 – £164,000, with travel costs in the region of £7,000 – £33,000 per year.

By contrast, in-borough placements cost an average of £21,000 and incur travel costs of less than £4,000 annually.

If the council achieves the number of internal placements suggested in its report by 2018, it will save £5,291,000.

It is estimated that the total costs of these provisions in 2014-15 will be £1.17 million, however this will be met by the Local Authority High Needs Block, which us defined by the Department for Education.

Rachel Heywood with Chuka Umunna demonstrating her love for Brixton
Cllr Rachel Heywood

In Lambeth, 75 per cent of children with profound Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are educated in other boroughs.

The Vanguard, a free special school for secondary age children with ASD established by the National Autistic Society, was scheduled to open in Lambeth in September. Neither a temporary nor permanent site has yet been found for the school.

Rachel Heywood, Lambeth cabinet member families, said: “There is insufficient provision for children with special educational needs. We’ve sought to create additional places and build stronger relationships with children, young people and their families.

“We’re beginning to recommission services. There’s been an inconsistent service around speech and language therapy and we’re working hard to assemble sufficient finance to deliver this.”


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