Every mainstream school in Southend will get an additional £50,000 in their budget to help early intervention support for children with additional and emerging needs.
The funding, which is a one-off total payment of £2.25m is to support early intervention, so children and young people with additional needs can be supported when they need it and fully incorporated into school life.
Introduced to schools in July, ahead of the start of this academic year, the funding is the first stage of a package of increased benefits agreed and unanimously supported by the Education Board, to support and assist children and young people with additional needs and those with SEND.
Cllr Helen Boyd, cabinet member for children and learning, speaking on behalf of the schools, said: “This is welcome news so schools can make immediate changes for the start of the new term and I'm very pleased that we can offer this financial support at this time, especially when our young people and families are under pressure, and given the importance of early intervention and support.
“The extra funding identifies the increased pressure that our school and education system is under at the moment. There is an undeniable increase in the number of children and young people with emerging needs or diagnosed conditions and this is placing additional pressure on our teachers and education as a system.
"While it is down to the school's discretion to spend the funding how they see fit, ultimately the aim of this funding is to improve the outcomes of all students. Schools will have to provide a return statement to show how the money has been spent and the impact it has had.”
Cllr Tony Cox, leader of the council and cabinet member for SEND, said: “This additional funding package is a positive step in improving the support, care and services children, and young people with SEND and their families, receive in Southend.
“All of our schools do their best, but early identification and inclusion of children and young people with SEND in mainstream schools is vitally important in making sure they are properly supported, and their needs are met.”