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Fair funding and levelling up for pupils with special educational needs and disability in England 2014 to 2023
  • Alan J. Marsh,
  • Peter Gray,
  • brahm Norwich
Alan J. Marsh

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Peter Gray
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brahm Norwich
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This study explores the variations in funding by relative need, allocated to English local authorities (LAs) for special educational needs and disability, by analysis of the schools National Funding Formula (NFF). The findings demonstrate continuing and significant differences in high needs (HN) funding between demographically similar LAs, despite a £3.5 billion (67%) increase in the HN budget since 2014-15. The funding variations range from £1,066 to £537 per pupil. The differences are largely the result of historical spending arrangements together with the application of a funding floor increase of 8% for all LAs and a funding ceiling of 11%. There is also a significant link between the level of LA funding and their use of specialist provision and statutory assessments. The discussion explores the Government’s policy of fair funding and the NFF implementation, and concludes that any mechanisms which are applied to protect funding stability should not undermine levelling up.