ISC CEO: Labour could be 'sleepwalking into a SEND catastrophe' with plans to tax school fees

Posted on: 17 May 2024

The annual ISC Census has been published today, prompting ISC CEO Julie Robinson to warn that Labour's VAT plans risk “flooding” the state sector with requests for expensive support for children with SEND.

Census data from the Independent Schools Council (ISC) shows that 111,154 pupils receive special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) support in independent schools in 2024, an increase of 7.5 per cent from last year and up 67 per cent on a decade ago. 

ISC chief executive Julie Robinson has warned that Labour could be “sleepwalking into a SEND catastrophe” if even a fraction of these children moved to the state sector. 

“It’s accepted that SEND provision is already overstretched and independent schools are providing crucial capacity to cover those gaps at the moment,” she said.

Ms Robinson also called on Labour to conduct a “full impact assessment” before introducing the tax, with the aim of “protecting all pupils who are receiving SEND support”.