5 cartoon figures, one is in a wheelchair

Locality Funding: For the 24/25 financial year, we are committed to maintaining our investment at £6 million across all localities, with no planned reductions.

This will proceed with the contracts being issued and the locality plans being submitted. Wayne Priestley will be the key contact for this work.

To confirm – the funding will be allocated in the same way as per 23/24, with the same amount of overall funding available.

Exceptional Needs: In acknowledgment of escalating demand and to support children with highly complex needs, we will invest £900k in the 24/25 financial year to provide additional support to schools. Given the substantial demand on this fund, your continued support, and collaborative efforts to minimise the call on this fund are highly valued.

Additional Top-Up Funding: In collaboration with colleagues across the sector, we are currently reviewing our investment beyond the existing agreed allocation of £6 million through the next financial year. At the Schools Forum meeting in February 24, we agreed to maintain the increase in funding for the academic year 24/25.

An update will be shared with the Schools Forum at its meeting in June 24 following the outcome of SEND funding review and costings produced by the Imosphere tool.

SEND Funding Review: Initiated in 2021, the SEND funding review resulted in the approval to purchase the Imosphere Tool in June 2022. This tool, chosen for its impartiality and transparent funding approach, is helping us to transition from having no funding model to adopting a banded approach, providing an accurate cost overview for children with EHC Plans.

As of now, 500 EHC Plans have been inputted into Imosphere. The next steps involve Imosphere analysing input and costing those initial 500 EHC plans.

From September 2024, all new EHC Plans in mainstream schools and those reviewed will be costed through this tool. To support the cost of delivering the provision outlined in EHC Plans, an additional £2.2 million allocation is being secured and will be confirmed with the School forum at its meeting in June 24.

As we move to change the funding route for children with EHC Plans in the mainstream schools and as outlined in the SEND Bulletin of 29th February, we are keen to work with you to ensure we have the right combination of funding for children with EHC Plans, and the more flexible / creative approach you have been working with in the localities – to fund support for children at the earliest point, including for children on SEN support.

The Funding Steering Group was due to recommence in the summer term to take stock of where we are and plan for how we have adequate centralised funding for EHC Plans and the Locality funding to prevent escalation. In the next few weeks we will be sending out dates for this meeting to co-construct and recalibrate the approach to funding our vulnerable children.

Thank you once again for your ongoing commitment and support.

Meredith Teasdale, Strategic Director of Childrens Services, and Andrew Jones, Director of Education and Skills