Advertiser letters: Education and Lord Boothby

Cllr Danny Hassell. Picture: KOIS MIAH/LBTH

Cllr Danny Hassell. Picture: KOIS MIAH/LBTH - Credit: LBTH

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Schools must meet needs

Cllr Danny Hassell, cabinet member for children, schools and young people, Tower Hamlets Council, writes:

Whilst I welcome raising the issue of special needs (SEND) funding and support, it was unfortunate that the anonymous author of the letter ‘funding cuts will hit hard’ (Advertiser, January 31) did not set some of the wider context around high needs funding.

Nationally the Local Government Association has estimated that the deficit on ‘high needs’ budgets could to double to £806m next year and could continue to rise to between £1.2 billion and £1.6 billion in 2020/21.

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It is clear that the government is not providing the necessary funding to support children and young people who have special needs or disabilities.

Councils across the country have been experiencing increased demand and rising complexity of need and here in Tower Hamlets we are no different.

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As a result of a £2.9m deficit on our high needs funding we have been working with school leaders across the borough to make changes which will help ensure that future sustainability of vital services and support. A number of proposals are being considered, including a review of the way in which the support for learning service is funded (5 per cent of the total high needs spend).

This service works with 14pc of pupils across the borough with special needs but we have to ensure our investment is meeting the changing profile of need for all children who require support in the borough and a ‘business as usual approach’ will not help us achieve that.

It is worth noting that we are also investing in the expansion of a number of special schools in the borough – including Beatrice Tate and Phoenix. But ultimately we need a government prepared to fund the support our children need.

We as a local authority will continue to fight for this but until then we need to find solutions that meet the rising needs in our borough.

Did you know Lord Boothby?

Daniel Smith, local author, writes:

I am working on a book about the former Conservative peer, Lord Boothby.

Boothby was a familiar face on the East End social scene in the 1950s and 1960s, and was famously associated with the Krays.

Did you ever encounter Boothby or perhaps hear any stories about him from this time?

Or did you know his friend, Leslie Holt? If you have memories to share, I would love to hear from you.

Please contact me by email at or by phone 07855 816693.

I am happy to speak to people on or off the record.

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