Funding for SEND and those who need AP: Call for evidence

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Closes 31 Jul 2019


We have heard local authorities’, schools’ and colleges’ concerns about the rising costs of provision for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) and those who are disabled, and about the reducing availability of specialist advice and support. We are listening and will be looking carefully at how much overall funding is required nationally as we prepare for the next government spending review.

Although we entirely accept that the overall amount of funding available is the most pressing concern,  this call for evidence is intended to help us understand how the current available funding is distributed and what improvements could be made to the funding arrangements in the future. It is also looking at factors in the current funding system that may be contributing to the escalation of costs, without necessarily securing better long-term outcomes for pupils and students. We want to know how the funding system can be improved so that we make sure that we get the best value out of any additional funding that is made available in future.

Please read the document "Provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and for those who need alternative provision: how the financial arrangements work" before answering the questions.

The provision for most children and young people with SEN is made in mainstream schools, and the initial focus of this call for evidence – questions 1 to 10 – is on how we fund that provision, including some technical aspects of the funding arrangements. There is a continuum of provision, however, and we want to gather evidence from special schools making provision for pupils with more complex SEN, and from those making alternative provision. Please see questions 16 to 19 for specific questions on alternative provision.

We are also extending this call for evidence to the post-16 funding arrangements for young people with SEN. Although there are significant differences between the 5 to 16 funding system and the 16 to 19 funding system, it is important that we understand the picture across all provision for children and young people with SEN, including those who need to stay in the education system beyond the age of 19. Questions 20 to 25 of this questionnaire will be of particular interest to those working with young people with SEN aged 16 and over.

Our ambition for young people with SEN, for those who have disabilities, and those who are placed in alternative provision or are at risk of exclusion from school, is exactly the same as for every other child and young person – to achieve well in school and college, find employment and go on to live happy and fulfilled lives. The questions on pages 26 to 28 of this questionnaire cover other system-wide aspects of the funding arrangements that may be working against the realisation of this ambition.

This questionnaire is intended to gather views and evidence from schools, colleges, local authorities and others with an interest in provision for these children and young people. We estimate that this call for evidence will take around 2 hours to complete in full.

We have also asked the Council for Disabled Children to organise a small number of workshops across the country, so that we can discuss the themes in this call for evidence in greater detail. If you would like to attend one of these events, please register your interest at, giving your name, role, organisation and email address. They will send you information about the events as soon as it is available.

A. Name

B. What is your email address?

If you enter your email address then you will automatically receive an acknowledgement email when you submit your response.

C. Response type

D. Which local authority are you responding from?

There is considerable variation in the way local areas distribute funding for children and young people with SEN, those who are disabled and those in need of alternative provision.  Knowing the local authority in which your provision is situated will help us to understand the context of your responses. If you are a national provider, or if you are not based in any particular local authority (for example a national charity), then please show this.

E. Are you happy to be contacted directly about your response?


We may wish to speak to you directly about your responses, in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of your responses, or to build on particular themes.