Ipswich schools need to be levelled up, says Tom Hunt

Quince and Hunt

Will Quince and Tom Hunt during the education minister's visit to Ipswich. - Credit: Tom Hunt

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has vowed to keep up the pressure for more funding for pupils with special needs in Suffolk after meeting junior education minister Will Quince this week.

Mr Quince, who is MP for nearby Colchester, visited schools across the county during his visit – including Copleston and Ipswich Academy. Mr Hunt said he also hoped to show him the Sir Bobby Robson school for social and emotional needs on a future visit.

The Ipswich MP said he remained very concerned about the inequality of resources for SEND (Special Educational Need and Disability) in Suffolk compared with other parts of the country, especially London.

He had been given figures by one academy group that showed provision for pupils with SEND needs in Tower Hamlets in London was 4.7 times what it was in Ipswich for those with moderate needs and twice the amount for those with more complex requirements.

He said: "We need to see a real levelling up of SEND provision. I have nothing against schools in London or elsewhere getting what they get – but we need much more here."

Part of the problem was the lack of clarity about where funding should come from.

Mr Hunt added: "The county council is looking at building new special schools and improving provision in mainstream schools but this is an area where Suffolk is lagging behind in funding.

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"There are no simple solutions – some children will need to be in separate special schools, others will need to get support within mainstream schools and both need to be addressed."

He said he would be continuing to press the government to spend more on services in Suffolk – as well as education, the county's police also got a very low amount per head of population.

Mr Hunt said: "I'm not sure why Suffolk does so badly compared with other areas, even those areas of a similar size and demographic. It seems to be historic but we have to fight to get more."

And he would be continuing to put pressure on Mr Quince and his colleagues in particular to ensure more was made available for SEND provision.