Research news

Since the inception of local management of schools and formula funding there has been continued criticism concerning variations and inequalities in funding between LEAs. The requirement for LEAs to delegate increasing sums to schools has placed SEN funding under pressure. Studies of SEN funding have suggested that the ways in which LEAs allocate funding for special and additional educational needs through different elements of their formula will have an influence on the ways in which special educational needs are provided for in schools and through support services.

NFER has undertaken a project to examine the system of funding introduced in April 1999, with particular reference to special educational needs. Analysis of Section 52 budget statements revealed a range of different funding patterns across LEAs. These contrasting funding strategies, and levels of funding, were used to select pairs of LEA case studies, which were also ‘statistical neighbours’ in Ofsted terms. Provision within these LEAs for pupils with special and additional educational needs was examined together with mainstream schools’ use of their direct funding to make provision. The extent and way in which LEA support was provided and used was also explored.

Fair Funding? will report the findings of the project and consider how funding mechanisms may affect schools’ ability to respond to pupils’ special needs and their possible effects on inclusion. Key issues addressed are: the distribution of resources to support inclusion of pupils with additional educational needs; the identification of approaches to delegation; the relationship between LEA funding mechanisms and the provision made in schools for SEN and AEN.

Article taken from the Spring 2001 edition of NFER News