Current therapy services for children with special needs in Harrow will continue for at least another two years following confirmation from the council’s cabinet.

It agreed to spend £785,000 over five years on speech and language therapy and occupation therapy programmes in the borough in collaboration with Harrow clinical commissioning group (CCG).

Despite financial pressures in this area – there was a £2.9 million overspend in the ‘higher needs block’ of its dedicated schools grant for 2019/20, with a further £3.2 million deficit projected for 2020/21 – it forms part of the council’s statutory requirements.

A report presented to the council’s cabinet explained this will “enable more children with higher special education needs to attend mainstream schools in Harrow”.

It added this decision is in line with the council’s strategy and “reduces the requirement for expensive out of borough and independent school provision”.

The services, which will be commissioned by the CCG, will come under an initial two-year contract, with a review in 2023.

However, the council’s financial contribution for these services is secured for five years, with the option of extending this support for a further five.

Cllr Christine Robson, who is responsible for young people and schools at Harrow Council, told a cabinet meeting the council and the CCG had “a good relationship” on this subject matter.

This was echoed in the report, which noted “the quality of service provided remains high and is well regarded by the service users, their families and other professionals”.