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SEND Fair Share Fund for Mainstream Schools

‘Fair share’ of children with SEND across our mainstream schools is a local priority area for action. Fair share would assume that the distribution of pupils with SEND across schools is proportionate to the same proxy indictors that are used to generate the notional budget for SEND however data, shared with the school community, shows that some settings have disproportionately high numbers of pupils with SEND. Those schools report financial difficulties, given the support costs required are substantially higher than their allocated notional SEN budget. Longer term, work on creating a fairer share of pupils will create more balance in pupil numbers across schools but based on the current profile there is a need to release additional high need funding for SEND to those mainstream schools with disproportionate numbers.

The SEND Fair Share Fund for Mainstream Schools 20/21 has an allocated budget of £200K. This is double the allocation of a similar scheme from previous years and represents the ambition that mainstream schools are enabled and have the resilience to support increasing complexity of children’s needs. The fund is split into two parts; Part A is determined through a generic formula and Part B is through a request process. To qualify for Part B you must have received funding from Part A, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Details about schools that are eligible are provided alongside this newsletter. Funding is allocated in two tranches. Schools who qualify for PART A support in the summer term will be notified by 31st July 2021. Schools that qualify for support in the autumn and spring term will be notified by 30th September 2021.

Applications for PART B funding should be made as soon as possible and preferably before 31st October 2021.

Fair Share Funding Part A

A formula is applied to determine which schools qualify for PART A funding.

The intention of the formula is to identify schools that have significantly more children with high needs than the demographics of the school would suggest.

Demographics in this context means the number of children in the school and their characteristics, with regard to level of deprivation and prior attainment. Each of these factors – pupil numbers, deprivation and low prior attainment – contribute to determining the amount of formula funding a school receives and in particular the school’s notional SEN budget.

Therefore the formula is not intended simply to identify schools with the highest absolute amount of high needs, as this may be a reflection of the demographics of the school and thus already recognised in the main funding formula. Instead it compares a school’s demographics to its level of high needs. Funding is allocated only when the level of high needs is high in the context of demography.

The formula works as follows:

Identify the scale of high needs in each school that is not already specifically funded and rank schools accordingly (separate for primary and secondary schools):

  • The total number of EHCP and Inclusive School Forum hours is identified, but anything over 15 hours for each pupil is discounted, as it is individually funded;
  • The total of the ‘first 15’ hours for each school is divided by the number of pupils to produce a figure per pupil;
  • Schools are then ranked by this measure.

Identify the scale of deprivation and low prior attainment in each school and rank schools accordingly (separate for primary and secondary schools):

  • Identify the percentage of pupils in each school eligible for free school meals and rank accordingly;
  • Identify the percentage of low prior attaining pupils in each school and rank accordingly;
  • Combine these two rankings to produce an overall figure.

Compare the high needs and demographics rankings and allocate funds only when the first (high needs) is significantly higher than the second (demographics).

This process is carried out twice per annum, 5/12 of the funds being allocated for the summer term and the remaining 7/12 for the Autumn and Spring terms, using the most up-to-date data available.

Qualifying schools for the summer term will be notified by 31/07/2021. Those that qualify for the autumn and spring term will be notified by 30/09/2021.

Fair Share Funding Part B

Schools that are eligible for PART B funding will have received PART A funding, unless exceptional circumstances apply. Funding requests should be made directly to the SEND Service Delivery Manager ( and School Finance Manager ( Information about the additional costs incurred, as a result of disproportionate SEND numbers, alongside an understanding about the schools overall financial position will be necessary to determine where an additional allocation of SEND funding is needed. Requests should be made as soon as possible but preferably by October 31st 2021, although where budget allows consideration will be given to requests received throughout the financial year.

The SEND Fair Share Fund for Mainstream Schools will be reviewed on at least an annual basis and its renewal into future financial years will be dependent on the availability of budget within the high need block. Criteria is subject to change at any point.

For more information about Fair Share Funding please email: