What is the 'Notional SEN Budget and how is it calculated?
- LAs must, through the Schools Forum, identify the formula by which schools receive funding to provide support for pupils with SEND. This is called a 'Notional SEN Budget'. It is called 'notional' because no-one tells schools exactly how they should spend this money - they can spend it in the way they think is best. But schools have a duty to identify, assess and make special educational provision for all children with SEND; and the LA has a duty to set out what schools are expected to provide from their delegated budget and to publish this information in the Local Offer.
- School Funding arrangements require that the notional SEND budget comes from the Schools Block, made up of funding from the basic per-pupil entitlement, deprivation and prior attainment factors. It is from this notional budget that mainstream schools are expected to:
- Meet the needs of pupils with low cost, frequently occurring SEND (e.g. learning and cognition)
- Contribute, up to at least the first £6,000 of the costs of provision for pupils with additional needs (most pupils with SEND will not require this full amount of funding).
- From this, schools must make provision for all pupils to enable them to access the school’s teaching and learning offer.
- The following shows Notional SEND allocations for Islington Secondary and Primary Schools for 2017-18.
- The National Funding Formula allows LAs to use only a very narrow range of factors when calculating SEND funding, including Free Schools Meals (FSM), the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and prior attainment (low attainment). These factors are all considered to be good ‘proxy indicators’ (i.e. indirect measures or approximate representations) of incidence of SEND.
For the above:
- Deprivation Factors are based on Free Schools Meals (FSM), IDACI and prior attainment
- Predicted Profile is a local factor; additional funding devolved to schools to make more resources ‘normally available’ (this amounts to a further £1.2m of funding for Primary and £151K for secondary schools).
- It makes sure schools get the funding they need at the right time and can target to the right children
- It reduces the amount of paperwork required to get funds to where they can be used effectively to help children
- It helps schools to have control over the planning and use of their resources
- It is a fair system that ensures all schools are working within the same guidelines
- As resources are readily available to schools through the funding scheme, more children will have their needs met without the need for statutory intervention.
Making best use of the child or young person and family’s resources
Before exploring outside sources of support it is essential to consider with the child or young person and family the resources they have i.e. their ‘real wealth’. This will help identify the strengths the family have, their networks and connections with people, their skills and knowledge and their own resilience. This includes:
- People: friends, extended family, work colleagues, social friends and neighbours.
- Access: local resources, shops, health services, schools, leisure facilities, and community activities.
- Assets: any resources given specifically to meet a child’s disability, e.g. benefits, personal budget.
- Skills and knowledge: strengths, abilities, knowledge, experience and decision making skills.
- Resilience: well-being, the inner strength that keeps people going when times get tough, physical and emotional well-being, and for some, a faith, belief system or religion.