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Greenwich Parent Voice

Read about the School places crisis

Councillor Peter John, London Councils’ Deputy Chair and Executive Member with responsibility for education has produced a very comprehensive document which describes the huge challenges faced by local authorities with upward pressure on school places. This makes for interesting reading for parents.

You can read the full document by clicking on the graphic below:


Children’s Services Cost Pressures will exceed £100 million a year and increasing.

Overspending on children’s social care is potentially the biggest financial issue facing local
government. Since 2013/14 there has been a worrying growth in the overall level and
proportion of authorities overspending.

In 2017/18, London boroughs overspent by more than £100 million. This is not a London-
only issue: all local authorities are facing growing pressure on their children’s budgets.
Around 90 per cent of councils in England overspent in 2017/18 (up from 50 per cent in

Population growth is a contributory factor, as is the growing complexity of looked after
children (LAC) placements.

London Councils’ 2018 survey found that the number of children
requiring more costly external residential placements increased by 16 per cent between
2014/15 and 2017/18, while spending on these placements increased by 46 per cent.

The shortfall of funding within the High Needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant for
pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) is another huge pressure
facing councils.

London has 54,000 children and young people on a statement or education,
health and care plan (EHCP): an increase of 48 per cent since 2010. The growth in recent
years is partly a result of the impact of the Children’s and Families Act 2014, for which there
was insufficient new burdens funding.

Last year (2017/18) there was a shortfall of £75 million across London despite funding
increasing by 8.5 per cent that year. This year (2018/19) funding has only increased by 2.3
per cent and a shortfall of £100 million is expected. Other children suffer from severe
disabilities that require complex care. A recent London Councils’ survey suggests that
London boroughs have an average of 10 children on an EHCP who cost more than £100,000
each to support, most often in out of borough placements, rather than with local specialist
providers who may have expertise locally and provide better value for money and mean
families can remain in contact with their children and receive support locally instead.