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The mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s violence reduction unit (VRU) is to plough £4m into improving support for children with special educational needs (SEN), who are at a greater risk of crime than their peers.

The funding will focus on early identification of SEN in children and delivering support programmes, such as help to improve speech and communication skills in primary schools.

Khan cites evidence that in 2021 children with SEN were four times more likely to be excluded from school.

Last year more than two thirds of children in England and Wales, who had been cautioned or sentenced for a serious violent offence, had a special educational need.

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