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Special needs funding consultation launched

Hampshire County Council is seeking feedback on a proposal for changing the way that top-up funding, which provides support for children with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP), is paid to mainstream schools.

On Monday, 12 October, an eight-week consultation opened.

Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “I’d like to make it absolutely clear from the outset that the proposal aims to improve provision for children with an EHCP. It is not intended, or expected, to lead to a reduction in the budget used to fund support identified in Education, Health and Care plans, to be delivered in mainstream schools, or to generate savings for the County Council.

“We would like to find out what people think about the introduction of a banding framework for schools which allows funding to be tailored to the type and severity of need that a child has. It could help to ensure the right support is put in place, by schools, for children and young people with SEN, as identified through their EHC assessment and set out in their EHCP.”

The proposal only covers the top-up funding that mainstream schools receive for children with more complex SEN requiring an EHC plan and not the core funding that mainstream schools receive to meet the additional needs of children.

The purpose of the proposed change would be to improve how the budget is allocated to mainstream schools to help them to be flexible and support children with an EHC plan in the most effective way possible. In turn, the aim is to help children and young people become more independent and achieve good outcomes.

If the proposal is agreed, following the consultation, any changes would only affect new applications for support made after the date of a banding framework being implemented. There would then be a phased transition for existing plans at the key annual reviews so that funding was agreed under the new framework.

More details can be found at www.hants.gov.uk/sen-banding. This web page includes an information pack that provides more detail about the proposal and background. People are asked to read this before giving their views using the online response form that can also be found on the page.

The deadline is 6 December.

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