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Proposed changes to new applications for additional funds for mainstream pupils with SEND

 

 Dear Colleague

Proposed changes to applications for additional funds for mainstream pupils with SEND

Last  August I wrote to schools  to outline the Local Authority’s (LA) proposal to replace the current business case model for SENRAP funding for mainstream schools and academies with a more simple and consistent universal banding approach.

We had hoped that we would be in a position to implement this new approach from April 2015 for all pupils currently in receipt of SENRAP funding and for new applicants. Unfortunately, due to inconsistencies in the various historical funding models that already exist, the exercise has proved to be more complex than I had anticipated.  To ensure we are striving to reach a level of equity across provision, further development is required before we can transfer existing pupils in receipt of additional SENRAP funds to the new universal banding.

The LA is still committed to simplifying the application and allocation process and working towards the universal banding for mainstream schools and academies. We absolutely recognise that schools find the requirement to complete business cases onerous.  To reduce this burden we are introducing a pilot scheme for new funding applications from April 2015. This will give us the opportunity to “test” out a different model. Whatever we do needs to be affordable and a pilot will help us to determine the likely impact of any changes on the DSG. We intend to run the pilot during the summer term and report to Schools Forum in July on what we have learned.

From April 2015 and for any new pupil
If a school needs to request additional funding, they will need to assess the pupil using the existing banding descriptors (Appendix 1). Schools will complete a very straightforward form which will only require the level the pupil has been “banded at”.


As with special schools and SRPs there will still be scope for mainstream settings to submit a business case  for bespoke levels of funding but this would only be for those pupils which have extremely complex or multiple needs which are not adequately reflected in the band descriptors. 


Interim financial values for each “band” have been agreed in line with the funding available from the existing SENRAP budget, please see Appendix 2. For the purpose of the pilot, if a school “bands” a pupil at a particular level then the amount of resource they will receive will equal the financial value currently in place for that level.  Whilst most mainstream schools have not been involved in moderation of pupils banded at various levels thus far (other than Y11) it is worth noting that, generally speaking, pupils attending mainstream schools will usually be banded at levels 5 and 6, whilst bands 1- 2  are more likely to be in our specialist settings.

If the model is to be rolled out we acknowledge that further work will need to be done on the financial values to create equity across provision. We will be seeking to do this but will need time to understand the impact this will have on both the DSG as a whole and individual schools.  We intend to report on the pilot to Schools Forum in July and by the forum meeting in October 2015 have determined the model that will be operating from April 2016.

Further details about making an application are attached (Appendix 3) and will be available on Schools Online and the Local Offer website early in term 5.

Please note that there will be no change for pupils already in receipt of SENRAP top up funding prior to April 2015. Individual pupil allocations will remain unchanged in line with current agreed funding rates until March 2016 or a previously agreed end date for an individual pupil. Appendix 3 shows funding arrangements for existing pupils in more detail.

As part of our planning for the new model from April 2016 and to inform the transition of pupils onto the new universal banding descriptors we will be asking each school to complete a self-assessment in term 5. This will in effect be a summary of the pupils with SEND where they have a statement/EHC plan or additional resource and the level they have been banded at. From September 2015 we will be including mainstream schools in the moderation activity alongside specialist provision. Further details regarding this will follow.

I hope that moving to a funding system based on pre-determined band values will reduce the administration burden for schools and the SENRAP panel as costed business cases will not be required other than in rare cases where bespoke levels of funding are being sought.

 
Changes to SENRAP application (This Letter)
 

 If you have any questions about the content of this letter please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely
Gill Ilić

Gill Ilic (gilic@swindon.gov.uk)
Commissioner for Education
Economy and Gill Ilic (gilic@swindon.gov.uk) Commissioner for Education Economy and
Attainment
Wat Tyler West
SN1 2JG
01793 463046
07742061309