The Government has committed some funding to support local authorities to invest in improving the quality of provision available for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged 0 – 25, with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

We (Hertfordshire County Council) were originally allocated £6,591,674 over 3 years (2018 – 2021). Additional top ups were allocated in May 2018 (£1,532,947) and December 2018 (£3,065,895), which have brought the total to £11,190,516.

Department for Education's guidance on how we can use the funding

 

We can invest in:

  • Creating new (additional) places at good or outstanding provision
  • Improving facilities or developing new facilities

 

This can be through:

  • Expansion to existing provision including at the same site or a different site.
  • Reconfiguring provision to make available the space for the additional places or facilities.
  • Repurposing areas so that they meet the needs of pupils with SEND.
  • Other capital transactions that result in new (additional) places or facilities’ improvements.
  • Investing in provision that is located in another local authority where this supports providing good outcomes for children in their area

The types of provision it can be spent on, where this benefits children and young people with EHCPs between 0 - 25, include:

  • mainstream schools
  • specialist provision or resourced provision in mainstream schools
  • special school or academy
  • pupil referral unit and alternative provision academy
  • nursery or early years provider
  • other provision (attended by pupils with EHCPs)

What the government requires from us to access the funding

 

This funding is being released over 3 years, and we have received the first year’s allocation. To receive the allocation for the next 2 years, we must:

  • demonstrate that we have consulted with parents/carers,
  • work with education providers on how best to target the use of the funding,
  • publish a short plan of its proposals and consultation undertaken.

 

We have completed and published our short plan, using the DfE’s new template:

Note, the DfE guidance indicates that specific costs should not be identified if they remain commercially sensitive i.e. for work not yet tendered.

Learn more about the DfE’s Guidance on SEND provision capital funding for pupils with EHC plans - GOV.UK

Hertfordshire’s SEND Strategy

 

Our SEND Strategy has been coproduced through the SEND Executive, which is a steering group made up of:

  • representatives of the local authority (SEN, Early Years, Commissioning, Planning, Specialist Services)
  • parent/carer forum (HPCI)
  • providers (special and mainstream schools, colleges and Hertfordshire University)
  • the Health Authority and other partners.

A summary of the SEND Strategy has been coproduced through the specialist provision workstream and approved by the SEND Executive.

Agreeing Projects

 

We sought initial expressions of interest for use of the Capital Grant in September 2018.

These were evaluated by a Capital Fund Panel, made up of representatives of the local authority, parents/carers and schools. The panel made recommendations to the SEND Executive as to which proposed projects met the criteria set, which needed to wait until the outcome of the analysis of out of area placements, and which needed further exploration.

Following on from its previously published spending plan, a sub group of the Specialist Provision Workstream did an analysis of children currently accessing education out of the area due to gaps in local provision, and made recommendations to fill these gaps which were approved at the SEND Executive on 11 March 2019. All recommendations have been picked up by SEND Strategy workstreams.

Expressions of interest will be sought to deliver these and any future recommendations.

The criteria for submitting proposed schemes will be guided by the following principles:

  • Be informed by robust evidence
  • Be subject to broad and genuine consultation with children, families and other providers
  • Support the development of a strong graduated response to need
  • Develop local provision.

 

The SEND Executive has considered the priorities for spending the capital grant and, at its meeting on 14 May 2019 agreed that its main priorities were:

  • The maintenance and creation of additional special school places
  • The creation of specialist provision for social and communication needs

and approved the inclusion of individual projects.

The SEND Executive is regularly updated on capital issues, continues to guide its priorities for spending, and approving the inclusion of individual projects as and when they are proposed.

 

Projects already approved

 

In the first year the following projects were approved by the SEND Executive on 26 September 2017:

Amount

School

Project

£350,000

Swallow Dell Primary School

To support the relocation of the primary support base (special needs unit) from Springmead Primary School to Swallow Dell Primary School. The provision is for primary pupils with SEND, behavioural, social and emotional needs including pupils at SEND support and with EHCPs.  This project is now complete.

£290,000

Colnbrook LD School

To replace existing accommodation without which the school would not be able to maintain its current pupil numbers. (See below*).


Since then the following additional projects have been approved:

Amount

School

Project

TBC (subject to Contract)

The Park ESC

Relocation to improved premises

£500,000

New special free school

Contribution towards the capital costs (if required)

TBC (subject to Contract)

Greenside SLD school

Improvements to maintain existing pupil places

 

As a result of the approval to reduce existing pressure on special school places and enable them to admit children awaiting a place, work is being undertaken to look at the praciticality of improving provision at a number of existing special schools to maintain existing pupil numbers and/or to increase pupil numbers. 

SEND Executive has endorsed the inclusion of projects at the following schools, subject to practicality and cost:

  • Colnbrook* 
  • Breakspeare
  • Greenside
  • Collett
  • Falconer
  • St Luke’s
  • Woodfield
  • Haywood Grove

 

We're also continuing the process of establishing a network of specialist provision for children and young people with social communication difficulties (SCD), including Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), across the county in line with its stated priorities, which will result in capital expenditure at some schools. The plan will be updated at an appropriate point in that process.