High needs

Update on High Needs Funding Improvement Work

4 April 2022

Local work to improve the allocation model for high needs top-up funding associated with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans is now entering its next phase.

To plan and oversee this work, we have re-established a multi-agency High Needs Funding Working Group as a subgroup of the Schools’ Forum.

What is the purpose of this pilot phase?

In the current model used in Cheshire East, high needs top-up funding associated with an EHC Plan is expressed as a number of hours of support. However, this doesn’t represent the many ways in which support can be provided to meet the individual needs of a child or young person with an EHC Plan, and previous high needs funding work and consultations supported the development of a more flexible model.

This pilot is intended to test and provide information on the feasibility and impact of moving from expressing total provision on EHC Plans in hours to financial amounts. This includes understanding any potential impact on:

  • the potential offer of support for each child or young person (i.e. whether an alternative, improved and/or more flexible offer of support could be provided) and the impact of this support on their outcomes.
  • whether the school, as a whole, feels able to provide more flexibility with regards to support (for individuals and also across the school).
  • staffing across the school.
  • the child/young person’s views around the support they receive
  • parents/carers’ views around EHC Plans, agreed provision and support provided.
  • relationships between schools and parents/carers of children and young people with EHC Plans.

The pilot is also intended as a means of ensuring that a fit for purpose and sustainable banding system, with appropriate financial amounts, is used should this model be implemented across Cheshire East. 

Please note that this work is looking only at how the total allocation is expressed on an EHC Plan; detailing specific provision within sections F, G and H of an EHC Plan will not change.

How and when will the pilot be carried out?

The pilot will be carried out with a number of primary and secondary pilot schools. These schools have already been identified and involved in developing how the pilot will work.

We are planning to run the pilot within pilot schools in the first half of the Summer Term (April – May 2022), after which the results will be collated and examined.

The pilot will primarily be a paper-based exercise in which the school, parents/carers and local authority will work together to see what support could look like for pupils with EHC Plans if there was a change in the way that total provision was described on an EHC Plan. There will be no change to existing EHC Plans in pilot schools during this pilot phase. We will aim to gather feedback from involved schools, parents/carers and young people during the pilot, and will use this as part of analysing the pilot results.

We will contact parents/carers of children or young people with EHC Plans in pilot schools directly to ensure that they are aware of this work and are able to be involved.

Who should individuals contact if they have questions about this pilot?

During the pilot, please direct any questions to SENDpartnerships@cheshireeast.gov.uk.