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(UK) Hertfordshire: "Urgent" quest for "high-need" SPED funding; running out of funds

Oct 6, 2021, Herts Live: Urgent search for high-need education funding in Hertfordshire as Stevenage runs out in 3 months https://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/news/hertfordshire-news/urgent-search-high-need-education-6016668

Education chiefs in Hertfordshire are urgently looking at a locally-administered stream of special needs funding after one area of the county ran out of funds in less than three months. ‘Delivering Special Provision Locally’ (DSPL) funding – amounting to around £1.5m [$20M] a year – is shared between nine areas of the county. And each area can then use their share of the funding to focus provision on local need.

It is only one of the ways that funding for children with special educational need is allocated in Hertfordshire. And it’s designed to support children and young people with emerging high needs or who have needs that fall outside the Education and Health Care Plan (ECHP) process. But that funding allocated to the area of Stevenage, Hertfordshire – known as DSPL 2 – for the whole of 2021/2 ran out within three months. And now Director of Children’s Services, Jo Fisher, is said to be leading "an urgent piece of work" to look at what has happened – and whether there are similar issues with DSPL funding in other areas of the county. The ongoing review emerged on Friday (October 1) when the issue was raised by Labour Cllr Sharon Taylor, who is also leader of Stevenage Borough Council. Cllr Taylor acknowledged that this was a very specific stream of special educational needs funding. … At the meeting, Assistant Director for Finance, Steven Pilsworth, acknowledged that there were undoubtedly huge pressures in SEND and SEND provision. And he referenced the changes to the Care Act in 2014, which had expanded entitlement in terms of care, but had not come with government funding attached…. Mr Pilsworth said DSPL funding recognised that there were a number of children who did not have an EHCP, but who needed support. He said £1.5m had been set aside with a number of panels allocating those funds. He said it had become apparent just over a week ago that one of the panels had "already exhausted" the funds in that area. Cllr Taylor said she hoped that funding could be found to make up for the deficit in the Stevenage area – which would otherwise cause difficulties for the schools and nurseries accessing that support.