When I first started working in SEND I assumed that the funding bands given to students from the LEA had been fairly assessed. I assumed these were decided at panel, and took into account all of the information the LEA knew about them. In short I assumed they were set so as to give both schools and students a fighting chance to make placements work.
And then I realised that actually that isn’t how they are decided at all.
The funding bands offered to schools, are in fact often the lowest bands the LEA feels the school will accept. But what schools often don’t realise is that these are negotiable – both on point of entry and at annual review – which can be called at any point.
So how do you know if a child is on the right funding band?
- Look at the funding banding criteria and the student’s EHCP and Educational Psychologist’s report (if recent), are there things on there not covered by the band they have been placed in?
- If the child isn’t currently at your school go and observe them, talk to current staff and parents. Ask what they look like on a good day and what they look like on a bad one. Make notes and compare those notes to the band criteria. Can you give them the support that they need to be successful in the band that they are in?
- If they are already at your school, look at the support they are being given. If you are supporting them as per the band guidence are they coping? If you are putting additional support in which band would that take them into?
What If They Aren’t On The Right Band?
- If the LEA are trying to place a student with you on the wrong band, negotiate the funding at the time of acceptance.
- If the student is already with you, remember that you can call an annual review at any point. When you submit your annual review paperwork you can also submit a request to change the funding level of the student.
- Where possible hold discussions via email or letter so that you have a paper trail to fall back on. Explain using the terminology in the funding bands why a student needs more funding than is being offered.
- Keep and give as much data in your report about the student as possible. (If you need help with data tracking and showing patterns of behaviour and progress for students with Autism, why not check out our Autism course which will give you everything you need to do this effectively).
- If the student is already in your school you are likely to need an Educational Psychologist’s report and/ or a Specialist Teacher’s report. If you are negotiating at the point of entry, this is not always the case.
Be Ready For A Fight
In the current climate funds are tight and therefore LEAs are holding onto the purse strings more than ever before. You therefore need to be hyper aware, talk to others within your area about how they negotiate and what paperwork they submit when the are successful in upping funding bands.
More than anything you need to know that these are not set in stone. They are negotiable and should be negotiated.
If you do want to learn more you might find our autism section a useful place to start. It’s full of different strategies to try out.
Our online autism courses are also a great place to learn more.
Or why not join our private Facebook Group, which brings parents and teachers of children on the spectrum together to discuss strategies to help at home and at school.
If you join our tribe at the bottom of the post, you’ll receive a weekly email containing autism strategies and resources straight to your inbox. You’ll also receive some free writing prompt cards, which work well for making writing a little less stressful.
And of course if I can be of any help then please just shout (or drop me an email).