Más de 20 escuelas para niños con necesidades especiales han sufrido un recorte de 1 millón de libras en fondos del gobierno, lo que dará lugar a reducciones en la oferta, que afectan a servicios como la traducción de libros en braille y ayudar a los niños con conductas disruptivas.
More than 20 schools for children with special needs have suffered a £1m cut in government funding, which will lead to cutbacks in provision, affecting services such as translating books into braille and helping children with disruptive behaviour.
The cut affects private special schools that received money for programmes involving children at state schools.
The schools affected have suffered individual cuts ranging from £45,000 to £145,000. They include the West of England school and college in Exeter, which caters for pupils with visual impairment, and St Vincent's school in Liverpool, a specialist school for children with sensory impairment.
Claire Dorer, chief executive of the National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools (NASS), said that in terms of overall education funding, the £1m cut was a “drop in the ocean” for the Department of Education.
The cut follows a government decision to integrate cash for special schools into the mainstream school funding grant.
When local authorities divided up the money it emerged that grants to private special schools had been overlooked when the department allocated the money, Dorer said. She added: “They are publicly funded schools – local authorities choose to place pupils in them when they can't meet needs locally. They are not for profit.
“This money was supporting our schools in getting their highly specialised services in particular areas of special needs into other schools. It's partnership and outreach with maintained and mainstream special schools.
“Pupils in our schools will be relatively unaffected. Pupils in the maintained sector will be affected because this help is going to have to cease.”
Dorer said the West of England school had lost funding for pioneering work looking at how to preserve and develop visual function in affected children.
The 21 schools have been offered £15,000 each, which would not sustain their outreach projects and could result in redundancies, the NASS said.
In a letter to the NASS, education secretary Michael Gove said: “My department has found itself in an exceptional financial situation as a result of the need to focus on reducing the national deficit and to do so as quickly as possible.
“Given the decision not to provide specific funding to maintained specialist schools, we concluded that it would not be appropriate to continue to provide such funding for [non-maintained specialist schools].”
In the letter, Gove said he realised schools would face “very difficult decisions” as a result of the funding cut.
Last week the Financial Times reported that many academies had been given excessive funding by the department. Errors had led to some councils being over-funded by as much as an extra £300 per pupil, worth around £300,000 a year to the average secondary academy.
The department admitted there had been errors submitted by councils, but blamed an over-complex funding system.
The shadow education secretary, Andy Burnham, said last weekend that Gove had “caved in” to a legal claim by 23 councils that too much money had been taken from their budgets to pay for academies.