Signposting - Special educational needs - Funding to Schools and Colleges for Children and Young People with SEN


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Section: Signposting

Subsection: Signposting - Special educational needs

Funding to Schools and Colleges for Children and Young People with SEN

From the week beginning 11th April 2016, Wiltshire Council worked with schools to develop the process for supporting the funding that schools receive to support children and young people with SEN. In the past the Council has had several different funded banding systems which have now been merged to form one system which will make the “behind the scenes” processes smoother.

The main difference you will notice in the first instance will be the new names for these bands. The Council have also created new names to describe the bands, and these are now available on the Local Offer website (click titles to view):-

[Banding Thresholds - Final]
[Banding Thresholds - Cognition and Learning]
[Banding Thresholds - Communication and Interaction and ASC]
[Banding Thresholds - Social Emotional and Mental Health]
[Banding Thresholds - Physical and Medical Needs]
[Banding Thresholds - Sensory Needs]

One of the key aims of banding is to expand discussion such that hours of a teaching assistant are not considered the only appropriate intervention. When a child or young person’s EHCP is agreed there will not be a single commitment to hours but a commitment to a set of interventions described in the EHCP within a banded assessment and an appropriate school setting, thus increasing the specificity within an EHCP. This approach should be more transparent, as all partners can agree on the needs and appropriate responses. It will give Schools, Academies and Settings more capacity to meet the child or young person’s needs and achieve the outcomes in the EHCP, rather than only providing hours of TA support. Thus the funding may enable a range of interventions, training, teaching assistant support (one to one/two or three etc.), specialist support and group activities with clear detail about how these will be delivered. The effectiveness of the EHCP or SEN Support plan will therefore rightly not be judged by the provision of a number of hours, but by the achievement of objectives.

The use of these bandings as a tool or resource ensures that the potential of inclusion band 0 is thoroughly explored before looking at bands 1 and 2. It also enables the SEN panel to develop equitable, consistent and transparent decision making.

These descriptors are drawn from a number of sources, including the former banding systems Wiltshire had for Resource bases, ELP and Special Schools, from descriptors used in York Council and from significant consultation and written text from SENCos, SEND Lead workers, Specialist Advisory teachers and Education Officers from Wiltshire’s Schools and Academies. The approach has also been discussed with parent carers through consultation on the Wiltshire SEN strategy supporting Schools 2015/18.

As well as viewing further information about this new banding system and the new descriptors on the Local Offer website, you can also talk to your child’s school, but do be aware that they are also getting used to the new system.

UPDATE - Information sessions were held by Wiltshire Parent Carer Council and Judith Westcott (Wiltshire Council’s Lead Commissioner for Special Educational Needs) in Salisbury and Calne in September 2016. The aim of the sessions was to share information about the single banding system and give the parent carers and school staff who attended the opportunity to ask questions about it. Please click here if you’d like to see the Q&A document.