In a recent Parliamentary discussion, Robin Walker, MP, advocated for increased support for special educational needs.
The MP for Worcester spoke in favor of an extra £4.6 billion in spending at a parliamentary hearing organized by the cross-party f40 campaign group and David Davis MP.
As a member of the f40 group, a group of councils that receive less money per student than other regions of England, Mr. Walker has advocated for a more equal financing structure for councils like Worcestershire.
He wrote to the Chancellor in October 2023, along with members from other f40 council regions, requesting a significant increase in funding for High Needs.
He emphasized that the majority of councils, including Worcestershire, are dealing with severe needs gaps as a result of the soaring demand outpacing supply.
Mr. Walker also advocated during the argument for the growth of Worcester’s special schools.
He said that Fort Royal Primary School and Regency Secondary School needed to be expanded, and that a new early years specialized assessment center was necessary.
In order to secure enough funding and effective use of these allocations, Mr. Walker emphasized the importance of resolving the problems associated with home-to-school transportation and urged collaboration with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.
In order to uphold the manifesto promise of a fairer funding mechanism, he also requested an update on the Department of Education’s intentions to make direct school grant payments to schools, ending the use of historical figures paid to councils.
At the end of the debate, Mr. Walker acknowledged the actions the government had taken in response to previous campaigns, stating that during the course of this Parliament, high needs funding has increased by 60%. However, he emphasized that in order to find a long-term solution, investments in infrastructure, training, and needs-based funding are essential.
Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, commended Mr. Walker for leading the f40 group parliamentarily, noting that he had not only been a member of the team but also its leader.
The House of Commons unanimously voted in favour of the resolution and an adjustment to SEND funding after the discussion.
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