The SEND Code of Practice: 0 – 25 years (2014) states clearly that:
“All mainstream schools are provided with resources to support those with additional needs, including pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. These resources will be determined by a local funding formula, discussed with the local schools forum, which is also applied to local academies.” 6.95
School budgets are made up of three elements
Element 1 is the per pupil amount. Every school will receive their main budget through pupil numbers. Every pupil will be worth a set amount of money – this differs from LA to LA and increases with age (secondary pupils get more than primary). This is the pot of money that supports all learning so will be used for staff salaries, buildings, resources etc. A percentage of this should be spent on supporting SEN pupils.
Element 2 is the notional SEN budget which has no direct link to pupils in school identified with SEN. The notional SEN budget is worked out based on three factors:
Free School Meals
This funding is not ring-fenced for SEN and it is for the school leadership team, governing body and SENCO to decide how it is spent to effectively support those pupils who require additional support.
There is an expectation that every school will spend a notional £6000 on additional support or intervention (per SEN pupil, per year). This includes pupils with a statement or an EHC plan.
Element 3 is Top-Up Funding. Where a school requires more funding (above the notional £6000) to support an individual’s needs it can apply for top-up funding from the LA. Schools will need to have very strong evidence and progress data to show what has already been provided, over and above high quality, differentiated teaching, and the impact on this school-led provision. The LA will decide if top –up funding is required based on the evidence submitted by the school.
For those children with a statement/EHC Plan – funding will be given over and above the £6000 to support the outcomes/ provision on the statement /plan. Section F of an Education, Health and Care must specify the provision for each of the child’s needs. This provision must be detailed, specific and where possible quantified and should be very clear about how the provision will support the outcomes. Schools will therefore have to ensure that any provision they put in place is not just about the “hours” of support but about the learning and progress that is taking place to meet the outcomes specified in the plan.
Every local authority will hold a “high-needs” pot and this is where the top-up funding will come from. Every special school receives £10,000 per pupil and many will require significant top – up for children with complex needs. On top of this many local authorities have children in very expensive out of county/borough placements which also have to be funded. Finally, this is also where LA statutory services and personal budgets come from.
I believe what will be left in that “high-needs” pot for mainstream schools is going to be limited.
The Code of Practice states that schools should not have to pay for the very specialist support and this would come via the LA BUT the reduction in LA personnel and the significant work-load for those who remain around the transfer of statements to EHC plans means that many schools are struggling to access adequate specialist support and are finding they are having to commission it from external sources.
Pupil Premium – This is totally separate to the school budget and is given to disadvantaged children (those in receipt of FSM, looked after children, and children from service families) Some of these will be identified with SEN and therefore the pupil premium should be used to support their progress. This should not be used instead of the school budget it should be in addition to. Although schools have to clearly show how they have spent PP and the difference it has made to an individual’s progress, schools can be creative and use it to support other children as well. For example – a school buys in a SALT for two days to train a group of support staff to deliver interventions. The funding could come from 2 pupil’s PP and they would obviously be the key focus for monitoring and evaluation of progress but others could benefit from the training that the support staff have undertaken.