Chapter 2 - Funding

2.1 Introduction

The School Funding Reforms put forward by the DfE will be introduced from 1st April 2013.  These reforms include a new approach to funding provision for pupils and students with “high needs”.  There is no precise definition of high needs, but the DfE state that when using this term, they mean those pupils or students who require provision that would not normally be available from within the delegated resources in mainstream schools.

2.2 Funding for mainstream settings

Core Education Funding (Element 1)

This is the per pupil unit of funding or age weighted pupil unit (AWPU). This basic entitlement will provide the standard offer of teaching and learning to all pupils and students on roll.

Additional support funding for pupils with high needs (Element 2)

A general assumption has been made about the notional funding for low cost SEN and the level beyond this when local authorities would then be expected to make additional funding available to schools.

Using previous work undertaken by Price Waterhouse Cooper, the DfE has defined that mainstream schools would support pupils with any additional needs up to a cost £6,000, beyond the basic entitlement level. This includes all pupils, including those with high level needs who currently have a Statement of SEN, or Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, or will have one in the future. 

Therefore it is expected that the provision for high needs pupils normally available in a mainstream setting would be the core education funding providing the basic entitlement of teaching and learning (Element 1) and the first £6,000 of any additional needs (Element 2).

The DfE have stated that they have deliberately chosen a financial threshold to define a pupil or student with high needs, as opposed to an assessment–based threshold such as having a Statement of SEN, since this may have created a perverse incentive if assessments were linked directly to additional funding, e.g. by creating additional pressure for unnecessary statutory assessments

Top-up funding for high needs (Element 3)

For high needs pupils who are assessed as requiring support above the £6,000 additional level, funding would be provided through “top-up funding” by the Local Authority from the High Needs Block. (Element 3).

2.3 Process

In order to provide schools with funding for Element 2, several existing budgets have been put together. These include: 

  • SIS fixed factor
  • SIS formula factor
  • Statement funding less than £6,000

The total of these budgets, almost £8.9m, was first re-distributed to schools in their 2013/14 budgets, on a formula basis using prior attainment, as directed by the DfE. 

This means that from 2013/14 the first £6,000 of all current Statements of SEN has been transferred from the centrally held schools budget to the schools funding block through the process described in 3.1, and is no longer retained by the LA.  

2.4 Impact

Statements drawn up prior to 1st April 2013

Prior to 1st April 2013 there were a number of statements banded at around £6,000 or below.  From the 1st April 2013 these, in effect, became funded by schools as they will be providing support directly from their budget (Element 2).

These statements were to be maintained until the next annual review.  At that time if there have been no significant changes to the pupil’s needs and these continue to be met effectively from school based resources consideration will be given as to whether they should continue to be maintained.

Top up funding for each statement valued above £6,000 was provided to schools by the LA from the High Needs Block. For example, where a statement is currently banded at £11,000 the LA will provide top up funding of £5,000.

New referrals and statements

For new referrals for statutory assessment schools will need to demonstrate in their supporting evidence how element 1 and 2 funding, has been utilised to meet the pupils needs

A simple Individual Costed Provision Mapping tool for use by schools when submitting a referral to demonstrate how they have provided support through elements 1 and 2 has been designed and published on the EHC Pathway page.

When a new EHC Plan is issued, schools will receive top up funding from the LA where needs have been assessed as being above the £6,000 threshold.  For example if a pupil or students support needs are assessed a being £8,000 in total, the LA will provide top up funding to the school of £2,000.

2.5 Funding for Post 16 Young People with SEND

Information about funding for Post 16 young people with SEND can be found in Chapter 13 – Preparing for Adulthood.

2.6 Pupils and Students living in other Local Authorities

Schools will continue to be responsible for meeting the needs of all pupils or students with high needs, including those who live in other LAs.  Where a pupil living in another LA, but attending a Wigan School, has an EHC Plan, it is the responsibility of the home LA to maintain the plan.

Through these reforms, the DfE want to encourage dialogue between commissioners and providers, about pupils and students needs, their required support and expected progress and results.  They want to move to a funding approach in which commissioners and providers deal directly with one another in relation to commissioning and funding provision for individuals with high needs.

2.7 Personal Budgets

A Personal Budget is an allocation of money identified to provide support for an eligible person to meet their identified needs, which must support the outcomes specified in the EHC Plan.  Personal Budgets can be managed in a number of different ways, such as by way of a direct payment. 

Young people and parents of children have a right to request a Personal Budget, once the authority has confirmed that it will prepare a draft EHC Plan.  They may also request a Personal Budget during a statutory review of an existing EHC Plan.  The EHC Plan will clearly state which outcomes can be met by a Personal Budget (if a Personal Budget is agreed).

At present, a Personal Budget may consist of elements of funding from education, health and social care.  In the main this will be:

  • Education – Element 3 (top-up funding)
  • For health – Continuing Care (CC) funding
  • For social care – Specialist provision as assessed by the Targeted Disability Service (TDS).

A personal budget, and in particular a direct payment, cannot be made in respect of provision which will take place in a school, post 16 institution or early years setting without the written consent of the head teacher, principal or the person occupying an equivalent position. 

The options for a personal budget within a special school maybe more limited than that of a mainstream school as the provision is more integrated. 

Through joint commissioning, Wigan Council and Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (WBCCG) will seek to increase choice and control over time through a wider range of budget areas being available.

Where a child or young person is eligible for one or all of the funding steams described above, a referral to the Brokerage Service must be made, unless the family express a preference to take on this role themselves.  The Broker will work with the family to develop a personalised and creative Personal Support Agreement that describes how they will use their indicative budget to meet the agreed outcomes as identified in the EHC Plan.

A Resource Indication System (RIS) is in development which will help to inform decisions about funding levels for Personal Budgets.  The tool which will be used to assist in developing the system is a Resource Indication Questionnaire (RIQ).

It is envisaged that there will be a testing period in which the RIQ will be utilised to gather the views of families and develop a robust and sustainable RIS.  Once Wigan Council is confident that the RIS is fit for purpose, it will be applied to indicate levels of resource required to support outcomes in education, health and social care.  A separate tool is also being developed for allocating Continuing Care funding.

Direct payments will not be appropriate for all aspects of Education, Health or Care.  The following table identifies those areas which are exempt. 

Areas exempt
 Education Health Care

School Placements or post -16 institutions

Primary medical services provided by GPs

Vaccination or immunisation, including population-wide immunisation programmes

Screening - National child measurement programme

NHS Health Checks

Urgent or emergency treatment services, such as unplanned in-patient admissions to hospital or accident and emergency

Surgical procedures

Specialist nursing care

Domiciliary care

Specialist Paediatrics

Some Specialist Medical Equipment

Prescription or dental charges

Child looked after placements

To purchase services directly from the LA (although a mixed package can be arranged, ie some services arranged and some direct payment) 

To purchase long-term residential care, including nursing care. 

As a payment to carers to purchase personal care for the person they care for. 

Alcohol or tobacco, gambling, to repay debt, anything illegal or unlawful, to employ close relatives who live in the same household (except for exceptional circumstances). Families in receipt of a personal budget cannot access the service that the resource allocation has been determined from.

Personal Budgets can be managed in a number of different ways:

  • Direct payments  - where individuals receive the cash to contract, purchase and manage services themselves
  • An organised arrangement (sometimes referred to as a notional budget) where Wigan Council or WBCCG makes the arrangements for the care
  • Third party arrangements/nominees – where funds are paid to an individual or another organisation on behalf of the parent/young person and they manage the funds
  • A combination of the above.

2.8 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will money for SEND be ring fenced under the new funding systems?

This will be school decision. School managers will need to make decisions around budgets in order to ensure that pupil needs are met.

2. If a child/young person’s provision costs less than £6,000 is there any point in applying for an Education, Health and Care Assessment?

No, an EHC Assessment would only be necessary where provision costing in excess of £6,000 is required.

3. If a Statement or EHC Plan is ceased to be maintained will the LA support the school in informing the parents/carers? Will any family friendly information be published?

Yes, the LA would not expect schools to deliver this message.  It will be important that families are reassured that the necessary level of support will be provided through Element 2 funding.

4. What should a school do if it finds that its budget simply does not meet the costs of supporting children/young people whose provision is below the £6000 threshold for EHC assessment?

If a school feels that there are exceptional circumstances then an appeal can be made to the School Forum.

5. Do the new systems mean more paperwork and bureaucracy for SENCOs?

That is not the intention, quite the reverse in fact. The emphasis will be on a more personalised approach, which may mean more face to face discussion, putting the family at the centre of the process and giving them more control.

6. Who will fund EHC Plans when pupils live outside the local authority?

EHC Plans will be funded by the child/young person’s home authority.

7. How will the amount of funded support be calculated? Is it fair to use a mid-point calculation (e.g. TA Level 2) when some schools use more expensive staff?

This has been the approach used for statutory assessment and will continue for EHC Plans.

8. How was prior attainment used to calculate the 2014-2015 schools budgets?

EYFS scores were used. LAs had a choice of using scores below 78 or below 73.  Wigan Schools Forum agreed that a score of 73 would be the best indicator.  In secondary schools the indicator is pupils below Level 4 in both English & Maths.

9. Are there any changes to the way Early Years SEN is funded? Does TIS still apply?

No. TIS does still apply. TIS1 is still available from the Early Learning and Childcare Team for private and voluntary settings. The Local Authority will consult over a similar mechanism for maintained nurseries. TIS2 is still available for children on entry into Reception classes. (See Chapter 12.3 for more information)

10. Will the LA provide any support to schools to help calculate the cost of the support being provided?

A new version of the Costed Provision Map (CPM) can be found in the Referring for Assessment section of the EHC Pathway webpage. It is designed for use with a single pupil and will therefore be much less complicated than previous versions of the CPM.

11. In providing evidence in support of an EHC Plan how should schools describe that which is provided under the Element 1 funding? Do they need to?

It will be assumed that schools are providing “quality first teaching”. It may be sufficient to state the class size and describe the general teaching conditions. If there are any particular aspects of provision which are specific to that school it may be helpful to describe them.

12. Will there still be School/Early Years Action and School/Early Years Action+ pupils under the new systems?

No. There will be a single category called SEN Support

13. How will schools access the new documentation for the EHC Pathway?

The Local Offer page includes a section called “Information for Professionals”. Downloadable documents are available in this section.

14. Who will the key workers be?

There are very limited key worker resources within the council workforce. Any one of a wide range of professionals could therefore become involved in “key working”.

15. What evidence will school need to present when referring for an EHC Assessment?

The school will need to provide all of the relevant assessments/reports, details of any other referrals that may have been made and evidence of the support being provided in school, including the cost of that support. Schools will have been following a graduated approach and so this evidence will already exist and therefore it should not be necessary to seek new assessments.

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