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DfE Press Release - Over £42 million to extend projects for children with SEND

Further funding to help raise educational standards, improve services and provide practical support to children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Projects worth over £42 million to help raise educational standards, improve services and provide practical support to disadvantaged families and children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have had their funding extended.

On Wednesday 10 February, the Government announced it will re-award current contracts and grants which enable schools, colleges, families and local authorities, to support thousands of children with SEND. This includes extending an advice helpline and increased funding for local parent carer forums, support to improve how councils provide local services and improved training for education staff in working with children and young people with specific needs such as autism.

The multi-million pound package of support includes more than £27 million for the Family Fund which supports low-income parents raising children with serious illnesses or disabilities with the cost of equipment, goods or services - from washing machines and fridges to sensory and educational equipment that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

The Department has also launched a consultation with proposed changes to the funding formula that will calculate allocations of high needs funding in 2022-23, to ensure funding is directed where it is needed most.

Alongside this, work on the government’s review of the SEND system continues to help make sure children and families with the most complex needs are supported throughout school and into adulthood.

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford said:

We know that the impact of being out of education can be greatest on those children and young people with special education needs and disabilities. That is why, during the current lockdown, we have made sure that schools and colleges should continue to welcome those with Education Health and Care plans to attend where possible.

Attendance among these pupils is higher this lockdown than the last, and I deeply appreciate how schools and colleges are caring for pupils and their families. This investment of over £42 million will provide practical support, advice or useful equipment – especially when it is needed now more than ever.

It adds to the huge increase in high needs funding we are providing and the catch-up funding we’re making available to help tackle the impact of the pandemic. This, plus our ongoing SEND review, will help make sure children and young people with additional needs are supported not just today but throughout their education.

This investment will ensure that specialist organisations around the country can continue their work to help strengthen local area performance, support families and provide practical support to schools and colleges. It will strengthen participation of parents and young people in the SEND system – ensuring they have a voice in designing policies and services and have access to high quality information, advice and support. This includes providing up to £17,500 for each Parent Carer Forum – an increase of £2,500 compared to 2020-21 – and the continued provision of a national helpline to provide advice for families.

Funding has been extended for organisations including the Council for Disabled Children, Contact, Kids, the National Network of Parent Carer Forums, Whole School SEND, the Autism Education Trust, the Education Training Foundation and Family Fund putting children and families at the heart of decisions.

Projects sharing the £42 million will continue to focus on:

  • Targeted support: monitoring, support and intervention to improve local authorities and partners’ delivery of statutory SEND services, with an emphasis on underperforming areas;
  • Direct support to schools and colleges: to help them work effectively with pupils with SEND; for example through training on specific needs like autism.
  • Participation of parents and young people: to ensure their effective involvement in designing SEND policies and services, including in response to the pandemic, and to ensure that they are able to access high quality and impartial information, advice and support
  • Quality of family life: to help low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children with the cost of equipment, goods or services - from washing machines and fridges to sensory and educational equipment that they might not otherwise be able to afford.

The Department for Education’s review of the SEND system is looking at how to make sure children and young people with SEND receive the highest quality support that is integrated across education, health and care; prepares children them for adulthood; and is sustainable in the future.

This support is alongside a major investment in education for children and young people with the most complex needs, including an additional £730 million into high needs in 2021-22, coming on top of the additional £780m in 2020-21, which means high needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5bn, nearly a quarter, in just two years.

Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, said:

This funding announcement underlines the government’s continuing commitment to children with SEND after a difficult year for these children, their families and the services which support them. We look forward to the next year, as we work towards improvements in services and the publication of the SEND review.

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund said:

We are immensely grateful to the Department for Education, for their continued support for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. The pandemic has hit families hard both financially and emotionally. This news provides reassurance to tens of thousands of parents and carers that financial grant support will be available to help them on what for many, will be a long road to recovery.

Amanda Batten, CEO of Contact said:

Contact is delighted that the Department for Education will continue to fund the strategic participation of parent carers and children and young people during 2021-22. We particularly welcome the funding increase for parent carer forums which will help their sustainability during such challenging times, and their role as strategic partners to ensure the best possible services for children and young people with SEND. The pandemic has hit many of the families Contact supports hard and the work of forums across the country has been essential during this time.

We look forward to working in partnership with The National Network of Parent Carer Forums, The Council for Disabled Children and KIDS to deliver this programme now, as we start to recover from the pandemic, and beyond.

Co-chairs, Tina Emery and Mrunal Sisodia from the National Network of Parent Carer Forums said:

The National Network of Parent Carer Forums are really pleased that there is an extension to the strategic participation contract and we look forward to working with all parties within the consortium over the coming year.

We are delighted that the DfE has recognised the difference that forums make, which is reflected in the £2500 increase in the grant funding.


Plan on a Page

During the lockdown in March schools created a ‘Plan on a Page’ for their students with EHCP’s, these demonstrated the reasonable endeavours that would be put in place to provide education during this time.

At this time we are requesting that schools and settings take a look at the ‘Plan on a Page’ for each student and refresh them.

Extracted from: Minister Ford: Letter 14 January 2021 (Link to full letter)

The legal duty on schools and colleges to use their best endeavours to meet the special educational needs of their pupils and students, including those supported through SEN Support, remains unchanged, whether they are attending school or college or at home for any period.

All pupils and students not receiving face-to-face education for whatever reason should be provided with suitable remote education. Education settings should work collaboratively with families, putting in place reasonable adjustments as necessary, so that pupils with SEND can successfully access remote education alongside their peers. We have also published a list of high quality online educational resources to support home learning. This includes resources that are suitable for pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) of all ages, from early years to those in further and higher education settings. The list of resources can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-remote-education#special-educational-needs-and-disabilities-send.

In addition, where a child or young person has an EHC plan, it remains the duty of the local authority and health commissioning body to secure or arrange the provision specified in the plan under section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014. However, I know that there may be times where it becomes more difficult to do so than usual. In these circumstances, education settings, local authorities and health partners (where applicable) should discuss with families to co-produce alternative arrangements for delivering provision. These decisions should be considered on a case-by-case basis which takes account of the needs of and circumstances specific to the child or young person, avoiding a one size fits all approach. At this stage, we do not intend to use the powers under the Coronavirus Act 2020 to modify the section 42 duty, but we will keep this position under review based on the evidence.

‘Plan on a Page’

As a reminder the ‘Plan on a Page’ should provide the following information and be agreed with parents/carers.

What?

Securing the provision stated in the plan, e.g. In relation to availability of staff, availability of technology and any significant risk that may cause harm.

Where?

Location where provision is to be provided e.g. early years setting, school, college, community setting, home, clinic.

When?

Frequency and timing of provision may be altered or modified in the light of available staff and risks that may cause harm.

How?

The method of delivery may be altered, e.g. virtual rather than face-to-face and smaller rather than larger groups for teaching (in line with the guidance on reducing transmission of coronavirus)

By Whom?

Changes to the person delivering the provision, e.g. a learning assistant under virtual supervision rather than a specialist therapist or teacher.
Templates are available to download from the Local Offer along with an example ‘Plan on a Page’. Once they are completed we would request that a sample ‘Plan on a Page’ is returned to the Local Authority.

Examples of a ‘Plan on a Page’ from the LSAT team.
Plan on a Page LSAT example

Please also find a templates you are welcome to use.
Plan on a Page template

We can use these to advise and guide should further information be necessary.

Many thanks in anticipation of your support.

The ‘Plan on a Page’ should be sent by email to: localoffer@telford.gov.uk

Only one example needs to be returned for your setting.


Minister Ford – Letter 14 January 2021

To all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their parents/carers and families, and other who support them.

Download the letter here