Personal education budget

All mainstream schools and colleges are provided with resources that they can use to support those with additional needs, including children and young people with SEN and disabilities.

Funding for SEN Support

Schools have an amount identified within their overall budget, called the notional SEN budget. This is not a ring-fenced amount, and it is for the school to provide high quality, appropriate support from the whole of its budget

Schools and colleges, however, are not expected to meet the costs of the more expensive support from their core funding. They are expected to provide additional support which costs up to a nationally prescribed threshold per pupil/student per year - the Government threshold is £6000 per pupil/student.

Under the new system, young people and parents of pupils with an EHC plan can choose to hold a personal budget to buy in the support identified. The money will come from the high-needs funding block and will not normally affect the school’s notional SEN budget.

What is a personal budget?

A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver all or some of the provision set out in an EHC plan:

  • young people and parents of children have a right to ask the local authority to prepare a personal budget once the local authority has completed the assessment and confirmed that it will prepare an EHC plan
  • personal budgets should reflect the holistic nature of an EHC plan and cover the special education, health and care services specified in the plan as appropriate
  • the provision to be delivered through a personal budget will be set out as part of the provision in the EHC plan
  • the personal budget can include funding from education, health and social care
  • a personal budget (the total sum of money available to make provision for the child/young person), can include direct or indirect payments

What can and cannot be included as a Direct Payment for education provision?

A direct education payment cannot include the cost of a school placement, AWPU or pupil led funding elements such as pupil premium:

A direct payment can include non-educational support, e.g. travel assistance and additional requirements funded through the High Needs Block through negotiation and agreement. It would apply to all education provisions up to the age of 25. There may be particular advantages in a student managing a direct payment in college to secure personal choice and control

A direct payment for provision such as equipment, specialist teaching, personal care, etc., would only be made if it was of benefit to the child and due diligence would be followed to ensure the money spent represented value for money, good outcomes and did not infringe financial regulations or create safeguarding issues.