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Funding for a child with a statement

(31 Posts)
jma3 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:15:46

I've recently received a copy of a letter trying to explain how much our childs school will be allocated. He has 32.5 hours one to one and now the school are telling us that they are not being given enough money and are having to cover the shortfall. Does anyone else have problems on changes to funding?

wombview Mon 29-Apr-13 14:00:48

I've just written a piece on my blog about this. I'm trying to build some case studies to feed to the media. Although the article is about the local issue, this is obviously a national scandal, so I'll be going to the national press. The more personal stories I have the more compelling it'll be to get published. Hope it hellps anyway. You can access my blog via my website:

chukkabukka Mon 29-Apr-13 18:23:01

My ds is now 19 but I have often wondered what actually happens to the extra money given to schools for children with special needs. Sometimes you can see where the money is going and other times the only extra help given is a TA who is a mum themselves and with the best will in the world "will do their best" but do not necessarily have specialist expertise and sometimes will not have seen the IEP which is not being implemented anyway. I will visit your blog site wombview. But I have felt the extra money goes into a big black hole which the school does not have to justify/evidence to anyone how they spend it on individual child and I suspect many will just answer it goes on TA. But how many children will that TA be supporting with that funding of one to one support under the excuse "a child will respond better if it is not singled out and the TA is helping others".

chukkabukka Mon 29-Apr-13 18:42:59

Just been onto your website wombview. Am I surprised as to what is happening? No. I do not have any good ideas either as to how to stop what is happening. I think one of the strengths the local authorities may have in doing what they are doing, is fragmentation. We don't know how to measure what is happening to each individual child that has a statement but no funding to deliver the IEP. Is this information available under the freedom of information act? Then my previous point is what evidence do we have that specific funding for a specific statement is spent on that specific child? This certainly needs looking at and if any politician knocks on my front door during this campaign I will ask them about SEN funding. Good luck.

MareeyaDolores Sat 04-May-13 20:37:34

jma3, while that's possibly difficult for school, the internal income transfers within the education system really are not your problem (nor your dc's).

I can see that a school with vast numbers of statement end dc might have a particular difficulty, but the delegated SEN funding is going to cover a few statements (cos it's worked out on the assumption that each school will have a certain proportion of dc with major needs)

MareeyaDolores Sat 04-May-13 21:04:44

wonbview, if you pop over to SN: children, you'll get some interesting stories...

wombview Thu 09-May-13 10:45:26

Thank you for that. I will have a look later.

daftdame Tue 21-May-13 14:18:25

The school are now supposed to use some of their budget to cover your child's needs, with the new funding reform.

There are so may stories concerning statemented funds not following individually funded children ie school using the money / resource as they see fit eg person assigned to do 1 to 1 doing photocopying, working with other children. In a way I am pleased that the government wants schools to show where the money is spent because this type of action distorts where the actual need lies and can lead to schools 'playing' the system (to the detriment of some children).

However I appreciate there are some horror stories, where schools say they cannot afford any more children with additional needs.What is needed is much more transparency. Your LA should be able to help re. what the school should be able to provide.

daftdame Tue 21-May-13 14:26:26

^ that should be the government wants schools to show that money has been spent on a child's special need before they can receive any extra.

Bati Fri 07-Jun-13 11:55:24

I have only just become aware of the changes and I am really concerned. We recently went to my dd review meeting and the senco told me that from september the schools now have to find the first £6000 of the funding for all children who have a ipf or statement.
My dd is in yr 10 and cannot stay for their 6th form as they only do A levels, but what school is now going to take my dd on for their 6th form knowing it is going to cost them £6000

daftdame Mon 10-Jun-13 09:40:25

Balti I think you have to look at the admissions policies of your LA.

I agree this is a problem however there was an equal problem of a child's funding not being spent on them which before this reform was extremely difficult to address.

If the child was coping with the lesser resource being channelled towards them they still suffered as their actual 'need' was being distorted (possibly with permanent implications) and schools had no incentive to address this issue.

If they were not coping it could be difficult for parents to ascertain what the problem was, not being able to very easily track what their child's funding was being spent on.

I therefore agree with the funding reform but believe there has to be further tightening up of regulations regarding admissions.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Jun-13 09:44:23

The school have to spend £6k of their delegated SEN money. That is the money doesn't come individual for the child but the school IS given it in addition to their normal budget to cover SEN.

Whether they spend it on SEN or a new vegetable garden however, is entirely up to them.

daftdame Mon 10-Jun-13 10:15:14

Starlight Ah yes, forgot about the non-ringfenced aspect. Tricky one this.

There is one scenario where schools could exaggerate a child's needs and misappropriate individual funding (with the old legislation) another where they can spend delegated SEN money on something completely unrelated to SEN (with the new legislation).

It does seem to be problematic getting schools to spend the funds they are given for Special Needs on Special Needs. Accountability to parents, more statutory transparency with regard to what has been spent on what, seems the only way to tackle this problem in law.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Jun-13 10:30:01

Yes, but despite the reform, as far as I can tell, we're just continuing with the status quo but with the money in a different place.

There will be no more transparency. There will be no more accountability. If anything there will just be more lies preventing the children from getting the help they need.

daftdame Mon 10-Jun-13 10:40:21

Starlight The individual budgets is promising re.transparency.

Also the fact that a school has to show how much they have spent before extra resources are applied for prevent the exaggeration of needs just to receive extra funding (for the school).

I can see how this exaggeration of need happens. My LA lowered the amount of funding they delegated to schools simply because more schools were applying for statements. This meant more schools had to apply for statements (because there was less delegated funding), as a policy decision, which in turn in my opinion lowered the entry requirement for a statement, distorting the level of a child's additional need (when compared with national levels).

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Jun-13 10:43:21

The individual budget thing will be an unenforceable policy.

Do you know anyone who has one?

LA's aren't going to simply hand over money without a fight to the death. Mostly they get round supplying this on the grounds of efficient public expenditure where they have bought in services on a block contract and state that they are already paid for and as such are zero cost. Giving a parent money would be on top of that and so 'extra' money and not efficient.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Jun-13 10:45:20

I'm also not keen on the idea that a school has to show how much they've spent. How much they've spent is irrelevant if it has been on ineffective/unqualified provision.

I wouldn't care if my child was supported for nothing by a volunteer from the WI provided she had the right training and background to be able to demonstrate progress using evidence-based-practice methodology and decent data-keeping skills.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Jun-13 10:48:27

Also, how can you have an individual budget and at the same time say that schools have to spend the first £6k.

Can the parent request the £6k from the school to hire their own TA?

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Jun-13 10:49:07

Schools should be made to demonstrate effectiveness of the £6k they have spent per child.

That I'd like to see.

daftdame Mon 10-Jun-13 11:01:16

Starlight The individual budget hasn't been rolled out yet to my knowledge.

At the moment there are a great differences between individual LAs with regard to statement funding. I think some of this should be evened out in law, since it affects how children who have statements are viewed.

A statement seems to be universally understood as being indicative of a high level of need, yet not all authorities even attempt to require schools to quantify their provision subsequent to awarding the statement.

Instead they seem happy to work using vague matrices, in terms of severity of need, whilst the only aspect of need that is quantifiable is the money that has been spent or that needs to be spent. They have probably taken the view that the administration of monitoring provision would cost more. This is why they then buy in block provision in order to ensure some money actually is spent on Special Needs.

This is why I am pleased that schools need to demonstrate what has been spent. It prevents the manipulating of LA policies by schools purely for extra revenue. However I fully appreciate there are still many problems, the new legislation does not go far enough to ensure fairness at all.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Jun-13 11:07:32

The pathfinders were supposed to be trialling individual budgets (over the past 2 years). So far a few of us have done freedom of information requests and found ONE LA who is trialling direct payments for Speech and Language therapy for ONE child whose parent got agreement to go ahead with a Judicial Review to make them.....

This paper outlines the issues for children and the families.

All the changes mean are money being more tightly controlled. There is no evidence that it will lead to improved outcomes for children (though arguably if you can continue to fail children in the same way for less money you should probably do so).

daftdame Mon 10-Jun-13 11:11:57

X post Starlight

I believe schools should demonstrate what has been spent, on what and the effectiveness.

The what has been spent is important because I believe it is the only quantifiable aspect, regarding level of need.

I believe the schools are being asked to manage the upfront 6K because there is a history, as with my LA, of schools playing the system in order to receive extra funds which distorts level of need.

Doing it this way may enforce a cultural change concerning what a school can deal with at a base level. When you read about all this 'working to rule' from teaching unions it doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to see how the 'rules' would require more children, with even slightly delayed self care skills, be deemed special needs. Previously teachers (in my Aunt's generation) saw helping children with coats, wiping noses, the odd toilet accident etc as an important part of their job, as an Early Years Practitioner.

daftdame Mon 10-Jun-13 11:14:02

^ All this 'playing the system' diverts funds away from those who do need them.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 10-Jun-13 11:14:26

'Doing it this way may enforce a cultural change concerning what a school can deal with at a base level.'

Perhaps. Or you'll find schools ignoring needs, fighting parents who suggest an EP might be worth a visit, a statement worth applying for, who feel that their child needs some form of therapy, individualised help to access their learning.

daftdame Mon 10-Jun-13 11:20:48

Starlight Yes it may mean what you have said. In reality there will probably be a combination of both. This is why I believe there needs to be still more transparency.

However reading the Schools Forum and our local Cabinet minutes even these recent changes will take some implementing. You have to hope there is some improvement though, otherwise there would be no progress at all, if the Status Quo was preserved above all else.

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