Consultation on proposed changes to additional SEN funding in mainstream schools

Closes 17 Dec 2020

Opened 20 Nov 2020

Overview

We are consulting on proposed changes to the additional SEN funding, which is paid to mainstream (primary and secondary) schools in Surrey in which a relatively high proportion of children have Education Health Care plans. Please see the attached paper on the front sheet (under "related" at the bottom of the page)  for full details and for the background to the proposals.

Why we are consulting

The council funds provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities from the high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant. Funding from this source has failed to match increased demand in recent years, leading to a high needs block deficit which is estimated to be one of the highest in England.  The council is expected to manage its high needs costs within the funding provided by the DfE and this means reviewing the way in which that provision is made in Surrey.  In particular there is a need to better target support for mainstream schools and to support Surrey schools to become even more inclusive, in order to reduce the ever increasing high needs block deficit

 

Background to additional SEN funding

DfE expects that mainstream schools will normally be expected to fund the first £6,000 of additional support per pupil with an EHCP from their main budgets.  DfE guidance states that “local authorities can provide additional funding outside the main funding formula for mainstream schools and academies on a consistent and fair basis where the number of their pupils with SEND and/or high needs cannot be reflected adequately in the funding they receive through the local funding formula. They should define the circumstances in which additional funding will be provided from their high needs budget.

 

Additional funding may be provided where there are a disproportionate number of pupils with a particular type of SEND. For example, a primary school may have developed a reputation for meeting the needs of high achieving pupils with autism, or pupils with physical disabilities, and it is not possible to target additional funding to the school through factors in the school funding formula.

Local authorities should have a formula or other method, based on their experience of distributing additional funding to their schools and academies. This should be agreed with schools …In all cases the distribution methodology should be simple and transparent, and devised so that additional funds are targeted only to a minority of schools which have particular difficulties because of their disproportionate number of pupils with SEND or high needs or their characteristics”.   (DfE High needs funding operational guide 2021/22)

 

In 2019/20 84 LAs allocated funding in this way although the method of allocation differed between LAs. Corresponding figures for 2020/21 are not yet available. In Surrey this is referred to as “additional SEN funding”, and it is allocated to schools where the cost of funding the first £6,000 per EHCP exceeds the level of the school’s “level 2” notional SEND budget (with some technical adjustments). This funding is separate from and additional to individual pupil support budget (IPSB) funding.

 

In 2020/21 67 primary and 2 secondary schools received “additional SEN” funding at a total estimated cost of £1.002m. The distribution mechanism was modified in 2020/21 following significant overspends in previous years.  The current mechanism supports a mixture of schools with very high incidence of EHCPs and schools where the incidence of EHCPs may not be so high but where the core funding is relatively low. Annex 1 provides further details of the distribution of the current funding.  Note that there are three schools for which additional SEN funding is equivalent to more than 5% of the budget share. There have been concerns that the current basis of distribution provides an incentive to some schools to apply for EHCPs where they may not be necessary or appropriate, and that it does not target the schools with the highest needs or benefit the most inclusive schools

 

 

Principles for guiding the future funding of SEND in mainstream schools

 

  • To ensure that all schools in Surrey are inclusive schools and are funded in an equitable manner.
  • To ensure that Surrey County Council can meet the statutory requirement to set out a recovery plan to address the High Needs Block overspend in the required time frame.

 

Proposal

We propose that additional SEN funding ceases from 1 April 2021. All mainstream schools would then be required to fully fund the first £6,000 per EHCP from that date.

Transitional arrangements could be considered between April –September 2021 for schools which could demonstrate that the withdrawal of additional SEN funding from this school has an unavoidable detrimental impact on pupils in protected groups under the Equalities Act.

 

The attached paper provides further details of the impact on individual schools and of our assessment of the equalities impact.

 

Give Us Your Views

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Teachers
  • Headteachers

Interests

  • Schools
  • Special Educational Needs