Agenda item

Proposal for targeted funding above notional SEN for primary schools

Joint Report of the Director of Education Servces and the Corporate Director for People


Kathryn Stevenson, Senior Commercial Business Partner, introduced the report outlining rationale and criteria for providing targeted funding to qualifying primary

schools. Additional funding outside the main funding formula for mainstream schools and academies where the number of their pupils with SEND and/or high needs is not reflected adequately in the funding they receive through the local funding formula.


(a)  under the National Funding Formula, schools receive funding for additional needs, and the cost of this up to £6000 for individual pupils, through a combination of deprivation and Low Prior Attainment (LPA) factors. This means that where schools have disproportionately high numbers of high needs pupils in comparison to deprived and LTA pupils they are not adequately reflected in the Formula;

(b)  the Local Authority is proposing to identify these schools with disproportionate numbers of high needs  pupils compared to the size of their deprived and LPA cohorts that are generating their funding for additional needs. Where actual numbers of high needs pupils are more than 2 above the ordinary threshold, targeted funding will be provided from high needs to cover in full the costs of the first £6000 of additional needs;

(c)  for 2020/21 the formula will result in 16 schools receiving targeted funding allocations, with the first £6000 cost being met for 55 high needs pupils across those schools;

(d)  the schools with the highest proportion of high needs pupils use up to 90% of their notional SEN budget on the first £6000 cost of these pupils, compared to a city average of 33%. The proposed additional funding will have the impact of bringing all schools into the range of needing 38-59% of notional SEN budgets for supporting the first £6000 cost of these pupils;

(e)  all primary schools were invited to share their views and comments on the proposals as part of a consultation which took place between 20th May and 15th June 2021. 18 responses were received, with ten schools being fully supportive and the remaining eight being uncertain on concerns about their budget being detrimentally impacted;


The following points were raised during the discussion which followed:

(f)  pupil numbers will be based on the January census so in-year admissions may not get picked up but the system does provide a fixed amount per year to each school for certainty and has less of a lag build in than the previous system;

(g)  it can be a major problem if several children with high needs start at a school simultaneously with no warning. With the new system panels are built in almost every 6 weeks to speed up funding processes;

(h)  feedback on how the new system has worked can be provided when the new budget is set for next year.


Resolved to


(1)  note the new criteria for allocating targeted funding from the High Needs budget to primary schools from April 2021;

(2)  note that the projected £0.330m cost of the proposal in 2021/22 will be funded from the overall £8.052m budgeted from the High needs for mainstream schools.

Supporting documents: