Staffordshire County Council has gone live with a new education banding tool to allocate top-up funding for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
It has begun a phased implementation of Imosphere’s Formulate for SEND tool across its mainstream and special schools to calculate top-up funding based on the individual child or young person’s identified needs.
Previously, the council used a matrix approach to allocate its funding for special schools and support assistant hours for mainstream schools.
The children’s needs are detailed within their education, health and care plans (EHCPs), which can be revisited through the annual review process. The council intends that using the Formulate for SEND tool will reduce its need to negotiate with education providers as it provides a clear banding system.
Importance of transparency
Lesley Calverley, senior commissioning manager for SEND at Staffordshire, said: “From the start of the project it was always important that open and transparent conversations were had with everyone.
“Throughout the pilot we’ve engaged with parents and carers and seen the value that the education banding tool has brought to our processes. For instance, by sharing the output of the education banding tool with parents, carers and education providers we believe this will help improve the quality of EHCPs.
“This collaboration early in the funding process allows us to make any changes to an individual’s needs profile and ensure the EHCP truly reflects the needs for that child and young person.”
The council also expects the tool to support strategic commissioning and planning by exploring patterns in children’s and young persons’ needs and any changes over time.