Meeting information

Meeting: Schools Forum

Date: 20 June 2022

Report of: Head of Health, Adults, Families, Children and Learning Finance

Subject: High Needs Block 2022 to 2023

Wards Affected: All 

1. Purpose of the report


To update the Schools Forum on the composition and distribution of the High Needs Block (HNB) within the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for 2022 to 2023.

2. Recommendations


To note the distribution of the HNB across service areas for 2022/23.

3. Background and information


The DSG is split into four blocks by the Department for Education (DfE): the Schools Block, the Central School Services Block, the Early Years Block and the High Needs Block (HNB).


As detailed in the January 2022 HNB report presented to Forum, the DfE now operates national funding formulae for each of the schools, high needs and central school services areas.


The HNB includes funding for education provision for high needs pupils and students from birth to 25. The intention is to deliver an integrated and coherent approach to assessment and provision across this age range – the Local Authority’s responsibility for the education provision of young people now applies up to the age of 25.


The Local Authority is responsible for the allocation of the HNB and the majority of the funding in this block is delegated to / used to support maintained schools or paid directly to establishments for the provision of education.


In March 2022, the Department for Education (DfE) updated the provisional HNB allocation for the 2022/23 financial year.

2022 to 2023 Actual NFF allocation excluding basic entitlement and import / export adjustments £31.202m
Basic entitlement factor £2.369m
Provisional 2022 to 2023 Import/Export adjustment (£0.438m

Hospital Education and Alternative Provision teachers’ pay and pensions factor


Estimated deduction for direct funding of post-16 places by Education & Skills Funding Agency

Additional HNB Supplementary Grant 2022 to 2023 £1.287m
Total 2022 to 2023 High Needs Block £34.246m


This settlement equates to an increase in allocation to Brighton and Hove of c.£3.5m compared to 2021/22. The additional allocation is recognition of the increasing costs of supporting children and young people with SEND and will help the LA meet pressures in this area.


The LA is experiencing some significant pressures in the high needs block with four areas, in particular, seeing large increases:

  • the education agency budget for provision in independent non-maintained schools has been increased by £1.5m in 2022/23 using additional funding DfE has provided in the high needs block. There are significant pressures against this budget due to placements the LA has had to make in order to meet the needs of children and young people with EHC Plans. This is partly linked to the impact of Covid on families with children with SEND. There is also an element of lack of local provision, particularly in the SEMH and ASC categories of need. The budget is currently funding 107fte placements compared to 85fte placements this time last year. There are ongoing challenges with increased numbers of tribunals and further growth in this budget is anticipated.
  • the mainstream school top-up and linked budgets have been increased by £750k in 2022/23. The number of EHCP children in mainstream schools increased by approximately 12% between 2020 and 2021.
  • the LA is commissioning additional high-cost specialist places across Brighton and Hove special schools, resource bases and alternative provision settings from September 2022. Special school top-up funding rates have been increased by 4% from April 2022. These changes equate to additional funding of approximately £300k per annum.
  • the ongoing impact of responsibility to provide education for young people with SEND up to the age of 25. Budgets for high needs provision in FE colleges and specialist post-19 education are being increased by approximately £300k in 2022/23.


As part of the SEND Sufficiency Strategy, work is continuing to establish additional local provision outlined in the presentation to the Schools Forum in December 2021.


At this stage the HNB allocation issued by DfE is only indicative and may be subject to further adjustments to reflect updated information relating to the import/export adjustment (where pupils with high needs who live in Brighton and Hove are educated in other LAs and vice versa).

4. Distribution of HNB 2022 to 2023


The LA has reviewed budget allocations within the block to ensure these reflect changing commitments. The increase in funding will allow the LA to plan new initiatives or extend existing specialist provision, taking into account the views of schools and the priorities of the council to ensure it has the greatest benefit to the most vulnerable children and young people in the city.


A summary of the breakdown of the 2022/23 HNB is shown in appendix 1, together with the comparative allocations for 2021/22.


There are some notable changes in allocations for 2022/23 and these are referred to in paragraph 3.7 above.


Summary Breakdown of Provisional 2022 to 2023 HNB for Schools Forum (including Supplementary Grant)      

  Total 1 Total 2 2021 to 2022 comparison
Special Schools related budgets (inc. insurance). For 2022/23, 18 ASC places transferring from Hill Park School to West Blatchington Primary School.   £10,703,800 £10,798,700
Agency Placements and High Needs Provision for pupils up to the age of 25 (including direct payments)   £9,178,900 £7,323,100
Early years additional support funding and Mainstream High Needs top up and direct SEN support funding   £4,902,200 £4,064,800
Alternative Provision (Central Hub, Behaviour Inclusion, Access to Education)   £1,722,600 £1,548,800
Resource Bases in mainstream schools:      
- Carden and West Blatchington £545,100   £236,700
- Hove Park and Longhill £463,600   £503,200
- Swan Centre £366,000   £366,900
- Bevendean Hearing Support Facility £251,700   £232,800
- Planned SEMH/ASC Specialist Provision £0   £216,000
Sub Total 1   £1,626,400  
Sub Total 2   £28,133,900  
Brighton and Hove Inclusion Support Services (BHISS)   £2,577,800 £2,525,100
SEN Interventions (PRESENS, Travellers, ECAR, Inclusion, Autism etc)   £959,000 £988,100
Contribution to therapy for SEN   £251,700 £167,500
Virtual School   £453,800 £445,800
Children with Medical Needs   £739,300 £579,000
DSG Recharges (SEN team etc.):      
- SEN Team £641,900   £619,300
- SEN Home to School Transport £132,100   £132,400
Sub Total 3   £774,000  
Balance of Funding to be allocated   £334,000 £0
Other HNB Funding    £22,500 £15,800
Overall Total   £34,246,000 £30,764,000

DSG recharges represent areas where DSG is used to part fund the cost of LA functions  

Budgets for BHISS includes all areas previously separately identified under Learning Support Services