Top Up High Needs Funding (HNF) is a new system of funding for mainstream schools and settings. HNF is additional funding provided to support inclusion and meet the needs of children and young people with significant needs in mainstream schools and settings. It has been designed collaboratively by the Local Authority, schools and settings, and parents, and aims to involve all stakeholders in the decision-making process. As HNF is for children and young people with significant needs, the needs outlined in the EHCPs are used to determine the level of top-up funding.
HNF is replacing Exceptional Needs Funding (ENF) and is designed to be a more effective system for identifying needs and resources.
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 new EHCPs this started on 1 November 2020 with schools being asked to use the banding tool with parents for those assessments which reach week 15 of the process from 1 November.
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
All EHCPs that did not receive ENF have 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 has been made aware of the banding and resources have been allocated to the school.
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 process look at your child’s needs. Please note that this started from 1 January 2021. ENF will remain in place until the EHCP is 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.
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
Existing ENF cases will continue until their expiry dates. Schools will work with parents to decide how best to meet the child or young person’s needs under the HNF system once the ENF ceases. If the identified needs of the child or young person meet the relevant criteria 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.