Brighton MP asks Prime Minister to meet local head teachers to discuss special needs funding

Posted On 20 Feb 2019 at 4:57 pm

Green MP Caroline Lucas asked the Prime Minister today to meet head teachers from her Brighton Pavilion constituency to discuss funding for children with special educational needs.

Heads were having sleepless nights over the issue, the Green MP said at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

Prime Minister Theresa May did not respond directly to the request for a meeting but did say that spending on children with special educational needs was at its highest ever level.

Mrs May also made reference to her party, the Conservatives, becoming the largest group on Brighton and Hove City Council with the defection of Labour councillor Anne Meadows to the Tories.

The switch had been the subject of an exchange with Conservative backbencher Maria Caulfield a few moments earlier.

Caroline Lucas said: “The Local Government Association has identified a potential £1.6 billion deficit for special needs education but the government responded with a paltry £350 million.

“As a result, head teachers in my Brighton constituency are literally having sleepless nights.

“Vital reading programmes for children with special educational needs are being cut and crucial support staff are being lost.

“Instead of repeating her usual line on schools funding, will the Prime Minister agree to meet a delegation of head teachers from Brighton so she can hear direct from them about the real pain that is being caused?”

Mrs May said: “I am sure the honourable lady will look forward to working well with the largest group on Brighton and Hove City Council which is now the Conservative group.

“She raises the issue of education funding and she refers to answers I have given in the past.

“We have been putting more funding into education and we have been doing it in a number of ways.

“We have announced extra support, as she says, for children with complex special educational needs, and that is building on the £6 billion in place for it this year – the highest level on record.

“She says it is not enough but it is the highest level on record.

“We are also putting money into new school places and better facilities for children with special educational needs.”

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