The DfE have issued a consultation on funding for SEND and those who need alternative provision (AP).
We submitted a limited response to the online consultation, which mainly addresses schools funding, and a more extensive response in a supplementary response.
Our key concerns include:
- the inadequacy of SEND funding in the early years and the effect of this for children with SEND who are less likely to be able to access their full entitlement and are more likely to fall behind their peers as a result, instead of having early support which reduces or eliminates the need for later support
- the loss of funding for centres of excellence for SEND support in the early years such as maintained nursery schools which act as providers of first choice and last resort because of their expertise
- the lack of consistency across the country about the amount of SEND support funding availalble and the processes for accessing it
- the lack of support, as well as finance, for early years providers as local authority services have been cut
We recommend that government consider a review of how inclusion funds are being used under the Early Years National Funding Formula to share best practice and consider moving towards a consistent national system. We also ask whether all early years providers in receipt of public funding should - like maintained settings - prioritise the admission of children with SEND (with the proviso that any such system must be properly funded and supported).