We were pleased to see a recent announcement that the Department for Education will be providing £400 million funding for providers of education for 16-19 year olds. The announcement states that funding will be provided to train and teach young people the skills they need to achieve well-paid jobs in the modern economy. The funding will be allocated to building the base rate (£190 million), supporting specific subjects (£120 million) and for new T Levels (£25 million).
Whilst this funding announcement might seem positive, the complete absence of mention of Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND), or providing additional funding for young people who require education past 19, is disappointing. Young people with additional needs face a range of barriers to education beyond age 16, and may need financial support to continue to receive the education they deserve and are legally entitled to. This support should also not be predicated on the ability or likelihood of a young person achieving paid employment.
This announcement is also similar to that of last week’s pledge to provide extra funding for schools to support students with SEND, in that it will only apply for one year, from April 2020. Given the current political chaos, longer term funding would be far more likely to make a lasting difference to young people’s lives.