Today, Friday 3 May, the National Association of Headteachers is hosting its conference in Telford. The Education Secretary Damian Hinds is speaking at the conference and announcing a Call for Evidence on the funding arrangements for pupils with complex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). This has been covered by BBC Online, the Guardian, the Independent and the Times.
Over a quarter of a million pupils with complex needs have benefitted from tailored Education, Health and Care Plans since 2014, giving them the support they need to fulfil their potential. The high needs budget has also gone up to £6 billion this year, from £5 billion in 2013.
The Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
Teachers change lives, we all know this, and nowhere more so than in the incredible work they do to support children with special educational needs and disabilities. They have my huge admiration and thanks for that work.
We introduced Education, Health and Care Plans to help that work and thousands of children with the most complex needs are now receiving more tailored support to help their learning. That support needs investment and while we have already hugely increased spending in this area, I recognise that providing for additional complexities can put additional pressures on schools.
Following this huge reform, I want to make sure we have the best understanding of how our system for funding children with high needs is operating on the ground – and whether there are improvements we can make so every pound of public money we spend is building opportunities for young people.
I’ve made clear that I will back head teachers to have the resources they need to provide the best education possible for every child – that ambition is no different for children with SEND, nor should it be. So I hope teachers and leaders will work with me to lead a system that unlocks every child’s potential.
Ahead of the conference today, the NAHT issued a press notice claiming that 37% of school leaders are struggling to recruit staff.
Our teacher recruitment and retention strategy will deliver on the Education Secretary’s commitment to championing the profession and will build on the 30,000 classroom teachers the government aims to recruit each year, support the 450,000 teachers already working in schools in England, and boost outcomes for pupils. The strategy includes the creation of the Early Career Framework, the biggest teaching reform in a generation, backed by at least £130m a year in extra funding when fully rolled out, whilst new teachers will receive a two-year package of training and support at the start of their career, including a reduced timetable to allow them to make the most of their training.
Extra investment will also be pledged, through the £42m Teacher Development Premium, to roll-out the Early Career Framework more quickly in Bradford, Doncaster, Greater Manchester and the North East.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
The Education Secretary has been clear that there are no great schools without great teachers. Despite there being more than 450,000 teachers – 11,900 more than in 2011 – with increasing numbers returning to the profession, it is his top priority is to make sure teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession.
That’s exactly why we published the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which provides teachers with more early careers support and opportunities for flexible and part-time working, to ensure we continue to attract and retain more great teachers.
We are also ensuring teachers are fairly rewarded and recently announced a rise of up to 3.5% for classroom teachers, funded by a £500 million Government grant, in addition to the tax-free bursaries worth up to £26,000 for trainee teachers in priority subjects.
Finally, the NAHT also issued a press notice on the topic of academisation. They say that school leaders at the conference will vote on a motion calling on the union to oppose the way academisation works in relation to Ofsted inspections.
Since 2010 we have converted around 8,000 schools to academies and our reforms show that autonomy and freedom in the hands of school leaders can deliver an excellent education for pupils.