Response to the Department for Education’s High Needs funding reform – stage 2 consultation
Alliance for Inclusive Education’s response to the Department for Education’s High Needs funding reform – stage 2 consultation.
The Department for Education has consulted on refining the High Needs funding formula that will be used to distribute funding for children with special education needs. Whilst the consultation focused on the High Needs formula we felt this was a good opportunity to highlight the negative impact of the government’s shocking cuts upon disabled pupils’ access to mainstream education, and the false economy of the state spending huge sums of money per pupil for a special school placement whilst starving the mainstream school system of the necessary support that disabled pupils need to thrive.
Do you have any suggestions about the level of flexibility we should allow between schools and high needs budgets in 2019-20 and beyond?
Yes, we believe that LAs and schools should have flexibility about how the high needs budget can be used to maximise inclusive education practice across all individual schools. We understand the government have agreed to allow LAs and school committees to retain full flexibility in allocating the delegated school and high needs budgets.
Are there further considerations we should be taking into account about the proposed high needs national funding formula?
In our response to this consultation we would like to state that we welcome the extra cash injection into SEND and we had hoped the government would use it in a manner that was compliant with their obligations under Article 24 of the UNCRPD and the presumption of mainstream education. However we have concerns about some of the suggested guidance.
Whilst the high needs consultation mainly focused on refining the high needs funding formula to improve allocation of funding for Disabled pupils with SEN, we are concerned that the government’s overall education funding policy will adversely affect the development of an inclusive education system. We believe that an improved funding formula will have a notional benefit for both schools and individual pupils unless changes to the funding of education and Disabled pupils with SEN since the Academies Act 2010 are reviewed as a matter of course.
The withdrawal of the Inclusive Schooling Guidance and the subsequent loss of the Local Authority coordination role, backed by resources to promote and champion inclusive education practice across all their mainstream schools, has resulted in schools being unable to support many disabled pupils with SEN. ALLFIE believes that the funding of Disabled pupils with SEN needs an overhaul as a matter of urgency, to ensure that all schools have the resources and are incentivised to take their fair share of Disabled pupils with SEN in their local communities.