Staffordshire Council launches new digital SEND funding tool

A new education banding tool will help allocate top-up funding fairly and accurately for young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Staffordshire County Council (SCC) has announced that their new digital education banding tool has gone live.

The tool is designed to support the council in allocating top-up funding for pupils with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Working with health and social care software company, Imosphere, the SCC has begun a phased implementation of Imosphere’s Formulate for SEND banding tool across mainstream and special schools.

Formulate for SEND is a purpose-built education banding tool that has been configured to meet the needs of the council. The aim is that the tool will provide the council with a fair, consistent and transparent system to calculate top-up funding, based on the individual child or young person’s identified needs as detailed within their EHC plan – which can be revisited through the annual review process as and when needs change.

Throughout the pilot we’ve engaged with parents and carers and seen the value that the education banding tool has brought to our processes
– Lesley Calverley, Staffordshire County Council

Previously, the council used a matrix approach to allocate its funding for special schools and support assistant hours for mainstream schools. It is hoped that the new tool will reduce the need for the council to negotiate with education providers for each child or young person individually, saving time and accurately allocating funding to meet the educational needs on a more personal level for each young person.

Lesley Calverley, senior commissioning manager for SEND at Staffordshire County Council, said: “From the start of the project it was always important that open and transparent conversations were had with everyone.

“Throughout the pilot we’ve engaged with parents and carers and seen the value that the education banding tool has brought to our processes. For instance, by sharing the output of the education banding tool with parents, carers, and education providers we believe this will help improve the quality of EHC plans.

“This collaboration early in the funding process allows us to make any changes to an individual’s needs profile and ensure the EHC plan truly reflects the needs for that child and young person.”

Once fully embedded and rolled out across Staffordshire schools, the council expect the education banding tool will support strategic commissioning and planning. It is hoped that the tool will enable the council to explore patterns in child and young persons’ needs and any changes over time so that managers can gain valuable insights and set future projections.

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