Special Educational Needs (SEN) funding - What do I need to know?

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Special Educational Needs (SEN) funding - What do I need to know?

An area of SEN that can cause uncertainty is funding and, in particular, the different elements of SEN funding and what, in practice, these mean for support for pupils in schools.

Element 1

  • Known as the core budget/Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) for each school
  • This is the amount of funding allocated to each pupil in a mainstream school
  • This funding applies to every pupil regardless if they have any SEN
  • A higher proportion of funding is allocated for secondary school pupils (approx. £4,000 per pupil) compared to primary
  • For maintained special schools, £10,000 is funded for each pupil

Element 2

  • Known as a mainstream school’s Additional Support Funding (ASF)/SEN delegated budget/notional SEN budget
  • This is based on a formula devised by the LA, which takes into account factors such as:
    • the number of pupils whose first language is not English
    • the number of pupils who receive free school meals
    • the previous years’ attainment levels for subjects such as Maths and English
    • the relevant social deprivation index
  • The recommended amount for this budget is set at £6,000 per pupil with SEN – this represents the approximate difference between element 1 funding in mainstream schools (£4,000 in secondary schools) compared with element 1 funding in maintained special schools (£10,000). The intention is that if a mainstream school requires more than around £6,000 to support a pupil with SEN then the school is providing a level of provision akin to special school provision
  • The LA cannot stipulate what a school spends this funding on – schools must spend this how they see fit to meet the needs of their pupils with SEN
  • This level of funding is used, for example, for targeted interventions, individual resources, specific equipment and aids, as well as individual reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010

Element 3

  • Known as top-up funding or high needs funding
  • This is provided when a mainstream school can evidence that an individual pupil with SEN requires more than £6,000 element 2 funding to meet their needs
  • This funding then comes from the LA’s high needs block

Regardless of these funding arrangements, the LA still has a duty to ensure your child receives necessary provision if the school is unable to provide this. If the school is unable to provide all the support your child needs, then you have the right to ask for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment. The Assessment will decide if an EHC Plan is required which means that the LA has to secure provision.

Funding is provided to academies by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Independent schools are not provided with such funding from the LA.

The Boyes Turner Education Team is can be contacted on 0118 952 7219 or via senexpertsolicitors@boyesturner.com

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