Sutton Council to invest additional funding for schools to support pupils with SEND

Published Friday, 11th December 2020

The new scheme forms part of ambitious plans to further strengthen provision for our children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the Borough.

The Sutton Education Partnership (a partnership between Sutton Council, education settings and Cognus), together with Sutton Schools Forum, has announced additional funding to support mainstream schools in the Borough to strengthen support to pupils with SEND as part of the High Needs Block Review Programme.

Partners from across the Local Area have contributed to the High Needs Block Review over the past two years, and the Council’s People Committee endorsed the progress of this five year plan at last night’s meeting.

Highlights of the programme include:

  • £400k of funding will add to the SEND funding that schools already receive to support pupils with additional needs that are ‘predictable’ and can be planned for in mainstream settings. 
  • This funding is in addition to £290k of additional funding already invested this year to set up ‘SENCO clusters’ which are are collaborative groups of Special Education Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) that work together to share best practice, develop provision and provide a source of expertise to all schools across the Borough about meeting the needs of pupils with SEND.
  • This ongoing work forms part of the Council’s wider ambitions to better prepare children in the borough with SEND for adulthood. 

The High Needs Block Review (HNBR) is about making the SEND system fairer, more transparent and focused on the best use of resources to support pupils’ progress and support good and better outcomes for children and young people. It is also about facilitating increased trust and confidence in the local SEND system for parents and other key stakeholders.

The additional £400k will be distributed to schools in January 2021. 

As a Local Area, Sutton Council and partners are ambitious to build on positive inspections earlier in 2020 from Ofsted and CQC, as well as the endorsement from Vicky Ford MP, to promote collaboration, the sharing of best practice and peer moderation to achieve greater consistency, accountability and quality in mainstream SEN provision.

Anna Huzzey, Assistant Headteacher, Avenue Primary School said: 

“The SEND system is complex involving many more organisations than LA. There is now a strong partnership working and communication between schools, education settings and the Local Authority through the Sutton Education Partnership, SENCO clusters, and with other agencies that will enable us to tackle some of the systemic challenges that exist. We will continue to work together to share best practice and peer monitoring to achieve better outcomes for our children and young people.”

Councillor Marian James, Chair of the People Committee said;

“"We are collectively ambitious for our children and young people. Together we want to provide them with the best chances to achieve their best outcomes in life, whatever their starting point, and to prepare them effectively for adulthood. Too many resources can be spent on 'managing the system', or talking about children and young people, rather than working for and with them. Our key focus is about getting timely support to pupils more quickly and effectively and the Additional Predictable Needs Funding does exactly that.”

“As a local area we are going to invest in our mainstream schools so that they are funded in a way that allows quick and responsive early intervention so that students get the help that they need. This will apply to all students needing Early Help as well as those with additional needs."