Banded Funding project update

Published
09.06.2022

Further to previous communication during the early stages of this initiative, our team have shared the proposed delivery around improving the means and practices when supporting children and young people across our education systems.

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The banded funding initiative is about allocating high needs funding to educational settings in a way that will allow creativity and flexibility to support the best outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) at the earliest opportunity.

  • It is not just about ‘how much’ resource is available, but about the ‘type of support’ that is provided.
  • It is not about ‘quantity of resource’ but about the effectiveness of the intervention.

For our funding to work in the right way, we need to have the right support available at the right time, so every child/young person can fulfil their potential. The banded funding initiative aims to give schools more flexibility to support a child or young person with SEND and to receive that support as early as possible to support early intervention and limit further escalation of needs.

We also hope to achieve a reduction, over time, of the number of children/young people requiring statutory Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments and Alternative Provision (EHCPs).

We have continued to engage comprehensively with stakeholders from across GCC, NHS, Parent Carer Forums and education settings. As a result of this engagement, we have been able to co-develop four banding descriptor draft documents, that cover the four broad SEN categories of need[1], with six banding levels within each category. These descriptors are currently being tested during our pilot phase.

We are pleased to share that the testing phase for this project began in March 2022. We are working with all of Gloucestershire’s maintained special schools, as well as invited mainstream settings, 4 Primary and 4 Secondary schools. We anticipate completion of this phase by July 2022. The intention during this period is:

  • To band over 200 existing EHCPS, across a range of SEN need types, using the new draft descriptors
  • To test and validate the descriptors (are they clear and understood?)
  • To test and refine the new banding process (is it simpler and better? Does it work?)
  • To collate actual costs of provision to inform future funding
  • To engage key stakeholders, gather feedback and lessons learnt
  • To review and agree the banded funding descriptors and process.

Throughout this testing phase we are capturing and monitoring feedback so that we can refine the systems and processes and enable a smooth roll out to the wider system. Plans for a wider roll out are currently being considered and will be discussed and shared at a later stage.

The government SEND review green paper, released in March 2022, sets out their proposals to ensure

‘…that every child and young person has their needs identified quickly and met more consistently, with support determined by their needs, not by where they live. Our proposals respond to the need to restore families’ trust and confidence in an inclusive education system with excellent mainstream provision that puts children and young people first; and the need to create a system that is financially sustainable and built for long-term success. We know that there are places where this is already the case, and we want to make this a reality across the whole country.’

In Gloucestershire and through this current pilot and further phases we are ahead of the curve, as this government consultation phase begins. As this work is complex and implementation is proposed on a national scale, we do not anticipate an introduction of these government proposals into the system for some time. Therefore, in Gloucestershire we are already and will be in a strong position to inform national colleagues from our experience through our Banded Funding testing and implementation.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the team at bandingworkstream@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

[1] Communication and Interaction (C&I), Cognition and Learning (C&L), Sensory and Physical (S&P), Social Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH)

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