The personal education budget must be spent on things that support the child or young person to achieve the education outcomes specified in the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
The personal education budget will be considered throughout the EHC assessment and planning process. It will be approved through a panel where a number of professionals will meet and make decisions based on our SEN policy.
Please note that as part of their core provision, special schools and colleges make some specialist provision available that is not normally available at mainstream schools and colleges. Due to the integrated specialist provision available, there may be fewer opportunities for a personal education budget in a special school.
Before a child or young person goes through an EHC needs assessment, each school or college should be offering extra support within their own resources to support that child or young person to reach their education outcomes. Funding is made up of Base Funding (Element 1) and a Notional SEN Budget (Element 2). Within this funding the school or college will be personalising the support offered to children and young people with SEND. It would be entirely up to the school or college if they could offer a personal budget using this funding.
The way that schools are funded is complicated, and there are many different terms used for the different sorts of funding that make up the school or college budget. There is more information available in the Graduated Approach Guidance document.
Yes, a personal education budget is funded by Trafford Council through the High Needs Block (HNB). This is sometimes referred to as Element 3 or top up funding. As explained above, whilst a school receives element 1 and 2 directly based on a formula, element 3 is only available when an EHC needs assessment has been completed for an individual child or young person. It is this element 3 or top up funding that could be available to be taken as a personal education budget.
In order to decide the amount of top up funding, Trafford use a banded funding model. This links bands to a description of provision required to meet the needs. A panel decides the band that an individual needs. This decision is based on the information gathered during the assessment process.
We are in the process of developing and testing a new way to decide the amount of top up funding using a resource indication questionnaire (RIQ). The aim of this work is to ensure that the decision making is more transparent and fair.