Report of the Director of Children’s Services.
The Leader of the Council received a report which set out proposals to increase funding for Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) for children and young people with special educational needs for the financial year 2023-24.
The Director of Education outlined the content of the report and advised that Cabinet had approved funding increases for in borough Special Educational Needs (SEND) provision in February 2023. In addition, special schools in the borough had received an increase of up to 3% per pupil compared with the 2021-22 place/ top up funding and an additional allocation of 3.4% increase from the High Needs Additional Grant.
The Director advised that the Schools Forum had expressed significant disappointment at the 3.4% increase for mainstream EHCPs and, on behalf of the wider school community, had indicated that the funding had not kept up with increased staff costs due to inflation and that they would not be able to deliver the provision. The report set out the current situation and the proposed interim arrangement to increase EHCP funding by 10% which would be an additional cost of £823,000, a further £461,000 compared to the proposal agreed by Cabinet in February 2023.
In response to a question from the Leader, the Director of Finance confirmed that she had been through the proposals extensively with the Director of Education and the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Human Resources and was comfortable with them. The Director of Education advised that once the review and consultation had been completed there would be a further report to Cabinet on the 2024/25 financial objectives and to provide an update on the deficit recovery plan.
RESOLVED: That the increased funding for 2023-24 for Education Health and Care Plans by 10% be agreed.
Reason for Decision: To increase the funding to mainstream schools to provide support to pupils with an Education Health and Care Plan.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected: As set out in the report.
Conflict of Interest relating to the matter declared by the Leader/ Dispensation Granted: None.
[Call-in did not apply to the decision above as it had been waived by the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the reasons set out in the public notice].