School and High Needs Funding Consultation Announced

Today we have received news that Government have launched a consultation on funding for schools and high needs funding and the Department for Education have issued the statement below.

The consultation opens today and will run until 17th April 2016.

Statement from the Department for Education:

"Today the Government has launched the first stage of its consultation on national funding formulae for high needs and schools, and on other high needs funding reforms. The consultation is available here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/.

This follows the announcement at the 2015 spending review to introduce national funding formulae to make the funding system fairer. Across all of the proposals the Department for Education is looking to deliver on 3 key priorities:

  • that funding should get to the frontline – to where decisions are taken, whether local authorities, schools, colleges or other institutions;
  • that funding should be transparently allocated, and matched to need, rather than being based on historic patterns of spending, and
  • that the transition to a new system should be manageable for local authorities, schools, colleges and other institutions.

In this first stage of the consultation, the Department is outlining its vision for the funding system as a whole and the principles that underpin it. The consultation sets out proposals for the overall design of the high needs and schools’ funding formulae and seeks views on the factors it is proposed are included.

The Department considers that the local authority is the right level to which to distribute the majority of funding for high needs, as there are important local decisions to be made both about the pattern of provision, and about the special provision required for individual children and young people. While it is proposed to move towards objective, formula-driven allocations of high needs funding to each local authority, the Department is concerned to make sure the pace of change in funding is manageable, and that the transitional arrangements help to protect provision for children and young people already settled in schools and colleges. There are also proposals to change some aspects of the distribution of high needs funding to schools and colleges.

The schools funding consultation sets out proposals to change the local authority role in setting local school funding formulae, by funding all schools through a single national formula after a two year transitional period. This reflects the Government’s ambition to see all schools become academies; and to make sure all schools are funded on a comparable basis, so that neighbouring schools are no longer funded differently simply because they sit either side of a local authority boundary.

The outcome of this first stage consultation will then inform the second stage, which will set out detailed proposals for the weighting of formula factors, will show how the new formulae will impact the funding of local authorities and schools, and will provide more detail on some of the other high needs funding changes that are being proposed. There will be consultation on a national funding formula and associated reforms for early years later this year."

We will be hosting two seminars on 17th May and 9th June to analyse the high needs funding proposals and we will unpick what it means for the SEND system.