How schools are funded for SEN

There is a national framework that all local authorities must operate within for the funding of special educational needs in mainstream schools including academies.

Top-up Funding - LA provides additional funding to mainstream schools

Every school must contribute up to £6,000 towards the cost of meeting additional needs. Where a pupil has needs that cost more than this the local authority (LA) will provide additional funding by means of a top-up. The determination of the top-up is locally determined, not nationally determined.

Although every pupil’s needs will be very specific to that individual, all LAs group pupil needs into a number of bands. Every local authority operates slightly different levels of bands with local definitions and associated top-up values determined by local conditions and as agreed with schools.

In Solihull the bands that may be assigned to pupils with an EHCP in Solihull maintained schools are as follows:

New Band and Funding  
New Band Total per pupil LA Top up Description
1 Up to £6,000 0 Pupil needs can be met from the schools’ required £6,000 contribution
2a £8,550 £2,550
  • Use of regular (annually/ termly) training/advice for staff from external professions including health/education.
  • Use of external support/monitoring and advice/ further assessment direct to the child or young person is required annually
  • Additional support staff time is required to enable the pupil to access the curriculum; this is targeted to specific areas of the curriculum and is less than 50% of the timetable (e.g. up to 12.5 hours per week, term time only).
  • Regular use of small group/1:1 support is required for interventions, which support access to the curriculum and pupil progress.
  • Purchase of specialist materials additional to that provided under the Equalities Act 2010.
2b £11,050 £5,050 Provision at 2A plus:

  • Regular (e.g. half termly) support/advice for the child or young person from external specialist provider
2c £14,550 £8,550 Provision at 2B plus;

  • Provision within an Additionally Resourced Centre where small group or 1:1 teaching from a specialist teacher and other external professionals is required to support inclusion and pupil progress.
  • Some use of off-site provision (time limited).
  • Requests for this level of provision must be approved by the EHCP Stage 2 panel.
      Pupil needs that require resources beyond the expectations of 2C will be determined specifically for each pupil

School Funding - up to £6,000 per EHCP

Schools are required to meet the additional needs of pupils with SEND, and the national expectation is that they will do that from within their normal school budget. For pupils with an EHCP the government have determined that schools must contribute the first £6,000 and LAs will provide additional funding by means of a top-up as described above.

To help schools understand the funding they receive that could reasonably be associated with meeting school statutory responsibilities for SEND, the government require LAs to calculate and publish for each school a “notional SEN budget”.

Solihull has done this for many years, and all schools should be aware of where this information is published (in the school budget share available on the Solihull Council intranet site), and it is included in the information the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) provide to academy schools.

Each LA determines locally how the notional SEN budget is calculated and this is agreed with schools Forum to ensure it is a reasonable calculation.

The notional SEN budget is not a separate funding factor for schools, it is an assessment of what proportion of each school funding factor may reasonably be attributed to being available to meet SEND. This is why it is called a notional budget.

School Protection Funding

A school may find that it has more pupils than expected, compared to the funding factors, and the school required contribution towards EHCPs means that the notional SEN budget may be exceeded.

In these circumstances Solihull provides a further top-up to ensure the notional budget is never exceeded. Because of this no school in Solihull can claim that they cannot meet need because they have exceeded their notional SEN budget.

Funding for mainstream schools with additional resource provision (ARP)

Some schools have an additional resource provision (ARP) that provides for the needs of pupils that require more specialist teaching to help support inclusion in a mainstream school.

For these facilities the provision is funded completely separately from the main school funding and the normal top-up funding arrangements described above.

These provisions will receive a separate budget based on the expected number of places and an agreed underlying staffing model. This is equated to an amount per place.

For smaller ARPs the school will receive the full amount per place, regardless of the actual number of places filled, recognising the facility needs a minimum level of funding in order to function. The LA will deduct the per pupil value of pupils at the ARP on October census day, so that the school is not double funded.

For larger ARPs there is a national requirement that funding is split into place and top-up funding. The place funding is £10,000 per place; the top-up element is the overall place cost less £10,000. The ARP only receives the top-up for pupils actually on roll.