SEND High Needs Funding
The council has proposed to change how we allocate money to mainstream schools to support pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
This proposal only relates to pupils attending mainstream schools and does not affect pupils in other settings such as Special Schools, Resource Provisions in mainstream schools and pupils attending schools outside Newham.
If, as expected, there is an overspend at the end of this financial year (31 March 2020), the Department for Education in central government will require Newham Council to provide a Budget Recovery Plan in May 2020.
Why is the council proposing these changes?
Newham council is committed to making Newham the best place to grow up for every child and young person. We are committed to inclusive education in Newham, and ensuring that children and young people with SEND get the support they need to thrive at school is an important part of this vision and a priority for the Council.
The council believes that the proposed changes are needed for two reasons:
- To ensure a better match between the individual needs of children with SEND and the funding schools receive to support them
- To reduce the amount of overspend on the High Needs Block Budget (the budget which primarily funds pupils with high needs such as SEND).
At present, Newham Council expects to overspend the High Needs Block Budget by around £8.2 million this year and in similar amounts in future years. The pressures on Newham Council are not unique; the National Audit Office reports that eight in ten local authorities overspent their schools high-needs budgets in the year 2017-18.
Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) high needs funding makes up the largest part of the High Needs Block Budget and the majority of the expected overspend. The expected cost of SEND high needs funding for 2019/20 is £22m. About £4.4m of the overspend comes from these SEND costs.
What are the changes that the Council is proposing to make?
The proposed changes focus on the way extra funding is allocated to schools to support pupils with SEND when the cost of meeting their needs is greater than £6000 per year. This funding is known as Element 3 High Needs ‘top up’ funding.
The Council proposes four changes:
- Increase the number of Element 3 High Needs ‘top up’ funding bands from two to four.
- Use Education and Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for all pupils with high level SEND.
- Change the areas of need used to identify special educational provision in Newham so that they are in line with national guidance.
- Element 3 High Needs ‘top up’ funding will follow the pupil so funding will start and finish depending upon which school the pupil attends
Consultation information and proposal document
Please read the consultation information document for more background information and details of the proposal itself:
The consultation information document is available in Bengali, Urdu, Gujarati, Lithuanian, and Tamil. Please email [email protected] to request a copy.
We held a series of engagement workshops in February 2020 as part of the consultation process. These were delivered by an independent research agency and gave residents and interested parties the opportunity to get further information, ask questions and give their views on the proposal and the potential impact of any changes would be. This was also an opportunity to make alternative suggestions for how the council could address the overspend.
What happens next?
The consultation is now closed. Responses will be analysed and the results will be provided to Cabinet with management comments. The Cabinet will make the final decision on Tuesday 5 May 2020 taking into account the consultation responses.
If you have any questions please email [email protected]