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Figures from the Department for Education show that the number of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) increased by around 87,000 between 2021/22 and 2022/23, while the number of state-funded special school places rose by only 7,000 in the same timescale. Figures also found that last year there were over 8,000 children who had been allocated an EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) status – that is children who need to be educated outside of the recognised school system. Parents of these children are having to turn to unregistered alternative provisions that are  not overseen by the Department for Education, local authorities or the education regulator Ofsted. Meanwhile, Ofsted has raised concerns about low standards of education and safeguarding at unregistered provisions. Headteacher Simon Kidwell, who is president of the National Association of Headteachers, expressed concern, saying he is hearing  of an increasing number of schools turning children away due to the “the perverse incentive of funding”, he added that at his school they have to fund the first £6,000 for every child with additional needs”. Read more here.

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