The Local Authority receives money from central government each year to fund schools.  This is called the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).  The DSG is split into four blocks of ‘block’ funding:

  • Early years block
  • Schools block
  • High needs block
  • Central block

Local Authority Schools’ SEN High Needs Funding

A proportion of the High Needs Block is used to fund the element three funding in for schools. The rest of the high needs block is used by the Local Authority to fund other types of SEN support and provision including statutory functions of the LA.  This includes:

  • State funded special schools.
  • Resource Based provision in mainstream school
  • Places in alternative provision and independent schools
  • Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)
  • Post 16 places and top ups (elements 1,2,3)
  • All SEN packages (0-25years)
  • Central services (statutory) such as:
    • Advisory teacher support services
    • Educational Psychology
    • SEND Support in the early years
    • SEND Keyworkers
    • Medical provision
Funding for Early Years' Settings

Information relating to funding for Early Years’ Settings will be available shortly.

Funding for Mainstream Schools and Academies

Schools Block

The schools block is the main budget for mainstream schools.  The schools block is made up of:

Element 1 – per pupil funding. This is used by individual schools to support all pupils.  It includes those who have special educational needs.

Element 2 – SEN funding. This is for schools to spend directly on making special educational provision. Element 2 funding is often referred to as the SEN Notional Budget.   This year 2020/21 total budget for SEN funding is £168.287m included within school funding allocations.

The SEN funding (element 2) for each school is calculated using a formula.  This formula uses the following SEN ‘proxy indicators’.

  • Pupil numbers (AWPU)
  • Prior attainment
  • Social deprivation (IDACI, FSM, FSM6)

Each year the school is informed through their School Budget Share how much Notional SEN money they will receive in support of low-cost high incident pupils.

Schools should use their Notional SEN funding to meet the needs of the cohort of children and young people with SEND in their setting.

Things that a school may want to consider when allocating funding on resources:

  • Expertise within the school to plan for any resources needed
  • Curriculum pathways
  • Specialist advice needed
  • Specific SEND resources
  • Provision specified in Education Health Care Plans
  • Evidence-based interventions

Element Three – High Needs Block – Top Up Funding

Schools and academies should have sufficient funding in their delegated SEN funding budget to enable them to support the majority of pupils’ SEND where required, up to the nationally agreed cost threshold of £6,000 per pupil.  Where individual pupils require additional support that costs more than £6,000, the extra costs can be met by requesting Element 3 funding for the individual pupil.

Top-Up funding is intended to provide additional, individually targeted support those typically met by resources that are already available to schools.  for named pupils who have a range of complex special educational needs whilst remaining in mainstream schools.  Top- up funding is provided where these needs, and the provision required to meet them, are more significant than

Pupils who access top-up funding will have exceptionally complex special educational needs.  

Pupils with these needs are likely to require:

  • significant levels of regular teaching and/or support of a teaching assistant to address individual targets;
  • daily highly structured learning opportunities;
  • frequent access to small groups or individualised teaching;
  • additional support required to ensure an integrated learning experience;
  • support to ensure equal access and social integration opportunities during the school day;
  • additional curriculum activities/arrangements that need to be in place within or outside of the usual learning environment for the child or young person to achieve.

Top-up funding can be used for a range of responses to SEND including:

  • providing support for pupils with complex needs in mainstream settings;
  • purchase one off resources or equipment for a specific child or young person;
  • SEN training and development for specific members of staff in order to deliver specific provision.

Birmingham Schools Top Up Finance Guidance

Element 3 Funding Update for Schools

Funding for Post-16 Settings

Information relating to funding for Post-16 Settings will be available shortly.

Funding for Resource Bases within Mainstream Schools

Information relating to funding for Resource Bases within Mainstream Schools will be available shortly.

Funding for Special Schools

Birmingham Banded Funding

In April 2013 the National School Funding Reforms were introduced, that led to changes to the funding of special schools by local authorities.
Two major funding streams were introduced.

  • ‘Core’ funding entails £10, 000 per place to support the provision of pupils.
  • ‘Top Up’ funding is individual pupil led.

In 2013, working closely with special school head teachers, the Birmingham Banded Funding is the system that was developed by a working group for the allocation of the ‘Top Up’ element of the funding. Read more about the Birmingham Banded Funding ‘Top Up’ funding development.

The Banded Funding Model

The new Banded funding system is based on the classifications of SEN need as used in the Code of Practice school census data:

Classification of Need Code attached to classification
Speech, Language and Communication A
Cognition and Learning B
Social Emotional Mental Health C
Sensory D
Physical E

The detailed descriptors for each band are set out in the Birmingham Banded Funding descriptors document.

It is envisaged that the majority of pupils assessed at Band 1 will be having their needs met in mainstream primary provision through developed funding. No ‘top up’ funding is allocated to this Band. If a pupil is in specialist provision, the school will still secure the ‘core costs’ for the pupil.

Following appropriate assessment, all pupils will be placed on a Band according to their primary area of need. The banding decision is based on the actual needs of the student and the school provision in place to meet the needs. The assessment is based on a best fit model.

Once a pupil’s primary need has been identified then they will be assessed on the level of complexity; there are 4 levels.

For example a pupil whose primary need is Cognition and Learning could be assessed as B1, B2, B3, and B4. Read more about the descriptors used for each classification of need in the Birmingham Banded Funding descriptors document.