SEN Banding Consultation: What is it all about and what do I need to know?

Hampshire County Council are currently consulting about moving to a banding model for SEN funding. Last week we held 3 events about SEN Banding with parents and carers. We wanted to share with you some of the questions asked and, more importantly, why you need to be involved and why it is so important to respond to Hampshire County Council’s consultation. You can read about the proposal and watch a short video about it by clicking here. FAQ's will also be on this page from tomorrow.
Hampshire County Council are looking at changing the way they fund schools for top up funding where a child has an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan for additional support in school. This will affect up to 9,000 EHC Plans in Hampshire of children who attend mainstream schools. If this consultation goes ahead all new plans from April 2021 will be banded. The 9,000 plans in circulation will change at your child’s annual review at transitional stages. eg when your child moves from KS1 to KS2 at the end of Year 3, or into KS3 at the end of Year 6. Eventually it will be applied to ALL EHCPs in Hampshire.
The proposal is that Hampshire will move away from specifying a number of learning support assistance (LSA) hours in EHC plans and will instead indicate which of four funding bands your child is within. We do not know at this stage the amount of funding that will be given to each band and Hampshire County Council have been unable to tell us this information. They suggest in the consultation that schools might pool the money for several children and that schools can flexibly spend the funding allocated to your child to meet their needs. They have indicated within the consultation that they want schools to move away from over-reliance on learning support assistants.

Within the proposal, Hampshire County Council has indicated that some schools will receive LESS money than the provision outlined in the plan would actually cost, but that schools will still need to make provision for children with EHCPs. They are unable to tell us how many children will have a shortfall or how much this will be. They have said that the overall spend on top-up funding will be increasing, because there are more children with EHCPs. They are unable to tell us whether the average spend per child will be increasing or whether less money per child will be spent with this new proposal. 

What are the bands?

SEN Support: For children and young people with SEN of one type or another, where provision can be made by mainstream schools from the resources that are ordinarily available to them
Targeted Level Funding: For children who require a level of additional or different SEN Support at times throughout the day, which may exceed what the school can provide from its budget
Enhanced Level Funding: For children requiring ongoing strategies, intervention and additional SEN support specifically designed for their needs, which may exceed what the school can provide from its budget, and is at a higher level than that required for provision at the targeted support level
Exceptional Level Funding: would be given by the Local Authority on an entirely discretionary basis, when EHC assessment demonstrates that the child’s SEN and the provision to meet those needs goes beyond what might be provided in mainstream school at Enhanced support level. All considerations for Exceptional level funding would be scrutinised by an Exceptional Funding Panel, comprising representatives from schools, the Local Authority, NHS and Social Care.

Questions & Concerns

Whose responsibility is it to make sure my child is getting the right provision?  

The concern we have is that we hear that a lot of parents and carers do not have a good relationship with their school and communication is not great, by HCC taking away their child’s LSA will you be able to hold the school to account on what they are spending the top up funding on?
Which band will my child fit in? 

There is no guidance of banding amounts so they could change it every year if they wanted- potentially placing your child’s education at risk.  The band they put your child in might not provide enough funding for your child’s provision.
Poor quality of EHCP’s 

Currently many EHC Plans in Hampshire are not SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  How can your school deliver the provision set out in the plan if it is not specifically detailed there? How will they afford to do so if Hampshire are not allocating enough money to pay for the provision? And how will you challenge your school if they fail to deliver?
Section F – No provision specified

If your child’s LSA support hours are specified in Section F your child will STILL receive 1:1 support, but many EHCPs do not have this in Section F. What about if your child’s hours of 1:1 are not in section F of their plan? How will you be sure that your child will get the support they need? 

Zoom Events

Come along to an online Zoom event to hear directly about this proposal from Hampshire County Council. Future sessions are:

Friday 13th November, 11am: The first section of the Meet the SEN Team event will be dedicated to banding. For Zoom link, click here. Meeting ID: 821 0446 8046 Password: SEN1

Tuesday 17th November, 11.45am: For Zoom link, click here. Meeting ID: 
821 5156 6598 Password: GT

Wednesday 18th November, 11.45am: For Zoom link, click here. Meeting ID: 
829 8720 7222 Password: GT

Thursday 19th November, 11.45am: For Zoom link, click here. Meeting ID: 
 820 9476 8467 Password: GT

Further events will be sent out next week.

We need your help to make sure your views are heard!

This is really important! This consultation closes on the 6th December so we don’t have much time for as many parents as possible to reply and make their concerns heard.  Please remember together our voices are stronger.
If you would like to share your views or hear more about what the consultation is about you need to click here.  

You can also email as all emails received will be counted towards the consultation, along with the survey which is in the link above.
Thank you for your support as always
The HPCN Team