Government launches emergency fund for pupils with SEND
The government has created a £10 million fund to help families provide home education support if their children have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
In addition, ministers have confirmed that £26 million of finance will be available in 2020-2021 through a continuation of the Family Fund.
Typically, grants of £400 - £500 are available to help low-income families with children who have complex care needs to cover the costs of equipment and support services.
But in a bid to overcome some of the difficulties being faced by families in the short-term as they look to deal with the current pandemic, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has made a £10 million emergency fund available.
The department has recognised that many families with children with SEND are currently facing ‘unique difficulties’, especially when their children are at home more than they otherwise would be.
Children’s minister Vicky Ford said the government’s priority is to protect the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children, including those with SEND.
“I know these unprecedented times may put additional pressure on families, particularly those whose children have the most complex needs, and these parents deserve some extra help to look after and educate them at home,” she explained.
She added that the funding could go towards technology such as computers and laptops, educational toys or specialist equipment to ensure that children with SEND receive support both “at this difficult time and beyond”.
If children have access to more technology and assistance, it also has the potential to enhance the quality of education that can be delivered remotely by special educational needs teachers as they have more options at their fingertips.
According to government estimates, the new funding packages for the next year should enable more than 75,000 families to benefit from support.
Some 14.9% of the pupil population – an estimated 1.3 million children – in England have special educational needs, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.
Family Fund has welcomed the emergency funding package, with chief executive Cheryl Ward saying it will make “an incredible difference to thousands of families”.
Those wanting to apply for some of the grant funding can do so via the Family Fund website.
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