Budget to include £2.6bn for special educational needs and disabilities

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A £2.6 billion pot of funding to help children with special educational needs and disabilities is set to form part of Wednesday’s Budget.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to say the funds will help back more than 30,000 new places for pupils to support their learning in both mainstream and special educational needs schools.

It will also be used to improve the suitability and accessibility of existing buildings and go towards new special and alternative provision free schools to help drive up standards in special education.

Mr Sunak said: “I want every child to have the best possible start in life and to fulfil their potential.

“That’s why we’re taking action to fund tens of thousands of new places for students with special needs and disabilities, improving the lives of so many of the nation’s most vulnerable children.”

Rishi Sunak Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

The move comes as there is rising demand for specialist support because the school age population is expected to be around 10% higher in 2025 than it was in 2010.

The Treasury says the measure will almost triple the amount of this year’s capital funding for the most disadvantaged young people through specialised educational support.

Overcrowded buildings can impact a pupil’s performance so this investment in infrastructure is seen as a way to ensure those with special educational needs and disabilities can get the same opportunities as any other student, a spokesman said.

A £300 million fund in 2021-2022 was announced at last year’s Spending Review for new places for students with special educational needs and disabilities.

This was almost four times as much provided in the previous year.

The spokesman added that the Scottish Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Welsh Government will all receive proportionate funding following the Barnett formula which is to be outlined fully on Wednesday.