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Funding for special educational needs in mainstream schools

Mainstream schools (including academies) receive funding in their school budget to support children with special educational needs (SEN). This is called “notional SEN funding”. The amount of funding each school gets is calculated using a national formula set by the government. It is based on indicators such as economic deprivation and previous attainment. It is not based on individual assessments of the needs of pupils in the school.

Schools should use this funding to put support in place for pupils who need it. For most children, this funding should be enough to meet their needs. The government has said that the school should provide the first £6,000 for an individual child each yearfrom their notional SEN funding. A very small number of children will requiremore than this amount of individual support.

Where a child needs more funding support to meet their special educational needs, the school can apply for 'top-up' or 'high needs' funding. The local authority has provided money to Sheffield’s seven localities (A-G) to provide this. Each locality is made up of 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 is given to schools. 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. The localities work together to ensure that top-up funding is available to meet the needs of individual pupils including making sure that provision in an EHC plan is put in place.

Schools are able to make requests to their locality for funding, to support individual children both with and without an EHC Plan. Funding decisions can be made at stage one or stage two of the locality processes, or via a locality funding panel, depending on the arrangements in each locality. All additional funding to support provision in an EHC Plan is made through this route.

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.

Individual schools are expected to have a strategic approach to meeting SEN from 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.

Last reviewed: 09/02/2021
Information owner: Head of SEN

Last Updated: 07/05/2021
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