Mainstream school funding for SEND

Mainstream schools in Leicester currently receive additional funding for pupils with specific special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The additional funding is paid in two parts:

  • a set amount for each pupil, depending on the individual pupil's needs
  • an additional SEND top up that support the school’s overall SEND budget.

These payments are known as either ‘mainstream top-up’ or ‘element 3 payments’, and because of how funding is currently allocated, certain schools receive more funding than others even though they may have the same number of pupils with matching SEND needs. The additional SEND top does not always distribute funding fairly to schools that need it.

In April of this year, we completed an engagement with schools and parents to discuss the issues around top up funding and to help shape an alternative funding methodology that is more focussed on pupil need.  Based on the engagement feedback, the challenges to the existing High Needs Block (HNB) budget and the need to ensure that funding is distributed equitably across all schools, it has been determined that we should remove the additional SEND top up element of the funding and provide schools with enhanced per pupil top up payments that are only based upon children and young people’s needs.  The proposal also introduces the need for a new team which will provide greater quality assurance and oversight of the provision that schools provide with this funding.

Why your views matter

We are seeking the views of parents, mainstream school representatives and forums on the proposed changes. The proposed funding arrangements are not intended to reduce the overall level of funding available for high needs pupils within the mainstream schools. However, there will be a significant change in the distribution of funding to schools under this proposed fairer funding methodology.

The outcome of the consultation will be the subject of a further report and recommendations for the Executive to agree with an expected implementation date from the new academic year in September 2022.

Please note that this consultation is aimed at educational professionals, but we also welcome comments and feedback from parents, carers and members of the public.

The consultation will run until 8 December 2021.