Hidden cost of reduced SEN provisionDate: 03.12.2018
England’s county councils are warning that rising demand for SEND services is creating budget risks for local authorities, with school transport costs for children with special needs up by as much as 45% in some areas in the last four years.
The survey by the County Councils Network (CCN) shows that total spending on transport for pupils with SEND in 2017-18 was more than £323m across 36 county authorities in England, up from just under £250m four years ago.
For many authorities, expenditure on private hire vehicles makes up the bulk of their SEND transport costs. Kent county council, which is one of the largest in the country, has the biggest spend on taxis and private hire, according to the survey. Kent spent £22.7m out of its total £24.9m spend on SEND home to school transport last year – a 45% increase since 2014.
Surrey was the second highest, spending £23m on home to school transport for children with special educational needs – 32% up on 2014 – and Hampshire spent £19m, a 36% jump in the last four years.