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£6.19m additional funding to support special educational needs

£6.19m additional funding to support special educational needs
17 March 2023

The council is set to receive £6.19m additional funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to help address the significant historical deficit fund for children and young people who have Special Educational Needs (SEN).

The DfE has reached an agreement with the council as part of its ‘safety valve’ programme for authorities that have deficits in their high needs’ budgets – money set aside to support pupils with Special Educational Needs.

Darlington has seen a rise in the number of requests for SEN support in recent years and the government has acknowledged there are significant pressures on high needs budgets across the country.

The Department for Education has agreed to pay Darlington an additional £6.19m over 5 years to address the historic deficit in funding. The council will in turn implement a series of improvement reforms, which include reviewing current provision to ensure it meets needs, improving early intervention and promoting an inclusive culture in schools.

Councillor Jon Clarke, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people said: “I am delighted for all our children, young people, and families, as well as everyone we work closely with to deliver these services, that this funding has been announced. Like so many other councils, Darlington accrued a significant deficit in the high needs block over many years. This additional funding will support us to improve delivery of SEN services for children and young people and ensure services are sustainable.”

He added: “This fantastic news follows on from the recent announcement of a new purpose built Special Free School for our residents and this additional support will help us to deliver sufficient sustainable provision in Darlington for children and young people with SEN and their families.”

The Dedicated Schools Grant ‘Safety Valve’ Agreement: Darlington is available in full at

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