Council chiefs to write to Government over education funding for those in need in Hartlepool

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Hartlepool council bosses will write to the Secretary of State for Education over concerns about funding.

A motion to Hartlepool Borough Council signed by councillors on the children’s services committee was unanimously passed calling for the council to write to central government over the concerns.

Councillors said they were particularly concerned for national funding within the high needs block, which they said was ‘inadequate’ for serving the most vulnerable pupils.

It comes after the children’s services committee calculated a funding shortfall of £1.030million in its high needs block school funding for next year and had to make a request to transfer the money from the general schools block funding allocated by the Government.

This means funding for each school will be reduced by 0.2%.

Coun Brenda Harrison, chair of children’s services committee, said although the Government has pledged to put more money into supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities in recent days, the sector is still in need of more funding.

She said: “My hope is that this is the beginning of something, they realise this isn’t enough and hopefully we’ll get more and more.

“Basically for the high needs block funding, the disapplication is still having to go ahead and what will happen is instead of it being for £1million it will be for a little less than that.

“It’s still a significant amount that is needed.

“The MP continues to lobby as much as he can on the issues and there are lead members across the region who meet on a fairly regular basis who are lobbying as well, so there’s a lot going on.

“Hopefully we will get some more money as times goes on.”

Independent councillor John Tennant also backed the motion and said reports to the children’s services committee had given him a ‘deep understanding of just how difficult the situation is’.

The letter to central Government will request as part of the 2019 spending review that additional resources are made available to fully fund the dedicated schools grant so that all of the funding blocks are ‘at least adequate’ to meet increasing needs.

The submitted council motion finished: “This will mean that ALL of our children and young people get the first-class education in Hartlepool that they deserve.”

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service