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Funding for special educational needs in mainstream schools

Mainstream schools (including academies) receive funding as part of their overall budget to support children with special educational needs (SEN). This is known as a school’s “notional SEN budget”. The amount of SEN funding for each school is calculated using a formula based on indicators like economic deprivation and previous attainment. It is not based on individual assessments of the needs of pupils on roll.

Schools are expected to use this funding to make special educational provision for their pupils, up to a nationally prescribed threshold (currently £6,000 per pupil per year); most pupils with SEN require less. There are also many interventions and approaches which cost nothing, but can still make a big difference.

The local authority also delegates “top-up” or “High Needs” funding for SEN to Sheffield’s seven localities (A-G). Each locality comprises several secondary schools and their primary feeder schools. The amount of top-up funding that each locality receives is based on the needs of pupils in the locality, as assessed against the Sheffield Support Grid.

The schools in each locality agree together how this top-up funding should be used. They might decide to buy services together (e.g. to employ a specialist to work across all schools in the locality), or they might divide it up between schools. Schools must ensure that top-up funding is used to meet the needs of pupils who require more support than the school’s notional SEN budget allows.

Individual schools should consider their strategic approach to meeting SEN in the context of the total resources they have available. This approach must be set out in the school’s published SEN policy and should enable parents to understand what they can normally expect the school to provide for pupils with SEN.

Schools do NOT automatically get top-up funding for individual pupils with EHC plans or MyPlans, or for pupils identified at specific levels of the Sheffield Support Grid.

Last updated: 29 October 2018

Information owner: Head of SEN

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