Issue - meetings

SEND Funding

Meeting: 30/11/2023 - Audit and Standards Committee (Item 9)

9 SEND Funding pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To receive a wide reaching report covering the current SEND funding model

Additional documents:


The item was introduced by Ross Caws (Head of SEND and Inclusion). He said there had been an increase in the number of children requiring SEND provision, and the complexity of their needs had also increased. The number of children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) had risen to 5,800. Ross Caws explained that an EHCP was a legal agreement that meant the Council was responsible for any additional funding over £6,000 for each child in receipt of an EHCP. It was anticipated the number of children needing an EHCP would continue to rise, although this was a national trend. Ross Caws drew members’ attention to Appendix 2 of the report, which outlined concerns raised in 2021 by the Local Government Association. Off the back of this, the Council was one of 55 education authorities now engaging with the Department for Education as part of the Delivering Better Value programme. This aimed to review the systems in place and identify ways of continuing to meet the growing funding needs of children needing SEND support.


Ross Caws said there were particular concerns around in-year funding pressures. Budget overspends had been anticipated and identified, and officers were trying to manage these with the resources available. However the trends in SEND provision meant this would continue to remain an issue.


Rob Powell said the high needs block funding came from the Government. Following reforms in 2015, local authorities had to fund young people with additional needs through the ages of 19-25. This, and other systemic issues, meant that a substantial deficit had been generated in Warwickshire and in councils across the country. Some income generated from Council Tax was being used to provide coverage for the cumulative deficit on the Council’s balance sheet in case Government ever required the Council to make good the deficit. Rob Powell said increasing costs associated with home to school transport for children with SEND were also causing issues. Responding to a point raised by Councillor Sarah Feeney, Rob Powell said the Council had previously written to the government repeatedly asking for greater action to be taken to address the increasing demands associated with SEND provision.


Councillor Bill Gifford said officers were doing their best to address the issues with limited resources. He said members of the public would blame the Council for perceived failings, and said they ought to contact their MP to raise concerns as often the issues were out of the Council’s hands. Councillor Bill Gifford said mainstream schools were disincentivised from taking children with additional needs because of the associated increased costs.


Ross Caws said there had been a national review of SEND prior to the publication of a Green Paper in 2021, which had led to the SEND and alternative provision improvement programme being implemented. This had led to the delivering better programme that the Council were engaged with. This set out things mainstream schools were expected to do regarding different types of education provision.


The Chair noted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9