Thu Jun 2024

The Future of SEND Funding – Key Notes from Lead Consultant Ollie Trepte


Written by:
Ollie Trepte,
Lead Consultant

Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Institutes are still greatly underfunded in the UK with a huge number of young people lacking quality care and education. Our consultants understand this urgency when recruiting and always ensure to prioritise independent sector research and education.

During May, Ollie Trepte, Tabby Summerfield, Luke Bartlett, and Bronte Sharp explored the recent National SEND Conference to take an in-depth look into the urgent issues and direct solutions surrounding SEND in the UK.

The event tackled several critical topics, bringing together educators, policymakers, and experts to discuss the current challenges and future directions for SEND funding and support.

The SEND Funding Challenges

The financial strain on SEND funding is evident both nationally and locally. Discussions highlighted the dire financial positions of local authorities, with all but one local authority in England operating under threat of bankruptcy and at a deficit, some up to £40 million. This situation underscores the urgent need for a unified effort to pressure the government into finding a resolution.

Tabby Summerfield highlighted that the primary reason for councils nearing bankruptcy is the high needs block funding. This funding issue needs immediate attention to prevent further financial distress. Chris Munday, Chair of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services Resources and Strategy Policy Committee warns “We need urgent national action to prevent more councils facing bankruptcy due to the spiralling costs of Send. ”

The government have pledged to invest £2.6 billion between 2022 and 2025 to fund new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND or who require alternative provision, but many schools and SEND facilities are still bankrupt and struggling to operate.

Andrew O’Neill’s proposals for addressing these financial challenges provided valuable insight into potential solutions and with the upcoming general election, there is hope that funding will be found.

The Role of The Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC)

‘Employment rate for people with SEND is 5% – this number is striking, what can we do to help?’ Comments Ollie Trepte. ‘There needs to be a clearer path for SEND children into employment, it needs to start in school with real career advice and a pathway into an apprenticeship or other employment.’

The mission of the CEC is crucial in aiding schools, including SEN schools and colleges, to support every young person in taking their next best step. The CEC’s role in providing real career advice and pathways into apprenticeships or employment is vital for creating opportunities for young people with SEND and must be funded justly.


The overarching lesson from the conference is the critical need for increased funding for SEND. Without it, maintaining and improving SEN services will be incredibly challenging. The National SEN Conference underscored the urgency of addressing funding issues and enhancing support systems for SEN students. Panoramic Associates hopes that with governmental changes quickly approaching that SEND funding will be allocated, no matter the electoral outcome.


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