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Exceptional Needs Funding (ENF) has been replaced with a more effective system for identifying needs and resources. The new system is called Top Up (High Needs) Funding (HNF) for mainstream schools and settings.

How will the changes to the funding system affect you?

For pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP):

If a pupil's needs are identified by an EHCP, this will also be used to help identify the resources they need, meaning no separate application for funding is necessary. The pupil's EHCP will instead identify what funding is needed for the school or educational setting to be able to deliver the specified provision in the EHCP.

For pupils with no Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP):

Parents, education providers and professionals will work together to identify a pupil's needs and determine what level of funding would be needed in order for a school or educational setting to fully support a pupil. If appropriate, nurseries and schools can apply for Local High Needs Funding (LHNF).

Possible changes to your current funding situation:

If your child has an EHCP but no ENF

ENF panels and the SEN Managers worked alongside parents, education providers and professionals to assess the 1600 EHCP's that were not part of the ENF system. All these EHCPs without ENF have now been assessed and schools and nurseries have been notified of the outcome of this work, and asked to share the outcome with parents and carers.

If the assessment indicated that Top-Up (High Needs) Funding is not required:

Your next EHCP annual review may include a review of the banding if a significant change of need is identified in the review that is not already reflected in your existing EHCP. Further information on this process is available on the Hertfordshire Grid for Learning.

If Top-Up (High Needs) Funding is required:

Your school will have been made aware by the Autumn term 2020. Any new EHCPs that were finalised in the Summer term 2020 will also be assessed and resources allocated to the school as appropriate. If this applies to your child or young person you will be contacted by your SEN Officer directly.

EHCPs that were finalised between 1 July 2020 and 31 October 2020 are being banded by a team of experienced professionals and the outcome and funding is being communicated to schools on a monthly basis. Funding is back-dated to the start date of the EHCP.

New EHCPs will be banded alongside the EHCP assessment process. This started on 1 November with schools being asked to use the banding tool with parents for those assessments which reach week 15 of the process from 1 November.

If your child has an EHCP and ENF

If your child has an EHCP and ENF, then their funding will be reviewed as part of their next EHCP annual review. This will be a simple process that looks at whether there has been any change in needs. Please note that this will start from 1 January 2021 and the process will be shared with schools and settings during the Autumn term. ENF will remain in place until they are moved onto the relevant band agreed as part of the reviews.

Children and young people with ENF and an EHCP, where the ENF was due to end in 2021, will have their ENF extended until their next EHCP annual review date in 2021. The process for banding the EHCP at the annual review will be shared with schools and settings in the Autumn term.

EHCPs are banded using the information in the EHCP. This means that it is important that schools and other professionals ensure that the needs of the child or young person are clearly and specifically identified.

Provision for children and young people who move into Hertfordshire with an EHCP will continue as specified on their EHCP while their EHCP is assessed for funding using the Hertfordshire funding model.

If your child has ENF, but no EHCP

All existing ENF cases that were due to expire in the Summer or Autumn terms will now be extended to 31 December 2020, unless your child or young person moves to the new system or has left mainstream education. Schools will work with parents during the Autumn term to decide how best to meet a child or young person's needs from January 2021 under the new Top Up (High Needs) Funding (HNF) system. It could be the case that application to the new local system (Local High Needs Funding or LHNF) for further funding or an Education, Health and Care Needs assessment needs to be completed.

Local High Needs Funding

We have a local version of Top Up High Needs Funding (HNF) in place, known as Local High Needs Funding (LHNF), that meets the emerging needs of children and young people and those with complex needs who do not have an EHCP. This will be in place for the Autumn term 2020 and will be tested at the ENF panels that were planned for the Autumn term. These panels will be co-ordinated by the 9 DSPL areas.

Applications for LHNF are now open and materials have been sent to schools. For those schools and settings who had a child or young person starting with them in September who have needs that will be met through this system, the funding, once agreed, will be backdated to the start of the Autumn term.

Next steps

  • All decisions that are made will be in place for one year only and be reviewed in the Autumn term 2021.
  • We will create a manual by the end of the Autumn term 2020 that lets you know about all the documents, changes and processes for the new system.
  • A process for reviewing funding where there has been a significant change in need in a limited number of situations will be introduced on 1 January 2021. Information will be shared with schools/settings before the end of the Autumn term.

The reason for the change

We reviewed the way in which we currently meet complex needs in schools through ENF. Both nationally and locally, there is a rising need for support for pupils with complex needs in mainstream schools and educational settings. This has an impact on how we spend money we have across the education system. The review highlighted the concerns of education providers and parents/carers about ENF, and their views that children and young people are not getting the funding they need. The review is part of our commitment to make sure that funding is sustainable for schools and educational settings in the future so that they can fully meet children and young people’s needs.

If you have any questions or need more information, please email:

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