A MOTION by Lib Dem county councillors calling on Surrey to increase the number of places for pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEND) within the county has been backed unanimously at Kingston’s County Hall.

Surrey County Council spends a total of £237million on SEND services for children and young people, educates 822 such students outside of the county, and spends nearly £27million on their travel costs.

The motion by Chris Botten, the Lib Dem councillor for Caterham Hill, proposed the council “urgently invest” in providing more residential places and special needs places for children within Surrey.

Mr Botten said: “I am delighted the county council have backed our call for an increase in provision for SEND places within Surrey.

“This cannot come soon enough as currently far too many pupils are sent out of county which is both expensive and inefficient in terms of travel times and the effect on family life.

“Surrey County Council has the opportunity to become an exemplar in providing SEND services and we must work to make that a reality, for the benefit of our pupils and their families.”