Croydon's "LOcality SEND Support" (SEND FUNDING)
What do you need to know?
What is it?
Croydon Council SEND department is rolling out a new scheme for SEND funding called "Locality SEND Support" which means that groups of schools near each other ("localities") receive a pot of funding to use for early intervention and support of children who have been identified as having a Special Educational Need (SEN, also called SEND).
Early documentation about this project referred to it as SEND - A New Approach (SNA), so you may hear that abbreviation used, too.
Why are they doing it?
The stated aim is to address the need for graduated response in mainstream schools. This means it's a way of identifying and meeting the needs of children with SEND in mainstream schools earlier, which is definitely welcome - in theory.
How will it work?
This will be achieved through delegating SEND budgets to smaller clusters of schools in localities across the borough. This means enabling schools/localities to have more control over their SEND budgets and benefit from shared experience and expertise across the locality.
Essentially, SENCOs at local schools (see below) will work together to discuss individual cases and strategies for support, as well as agreeing between themselves how they can use local SEND budget to commission services which will support pupils with SEND.
Information about specific processes is still emerging, but the SENCO at your school should be able to point you in the direction of the latest information.
Who is affected?
The scheme is for children and young people on the SEND register within certain schools in Croydon. It is not for children and young people with existing Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP).
There are 4 localities containing schools which have been identified as "early adopters" of the scheme. These are listed below. We understand that the intent is to roll the scheme out across the borough eventually.
How can I find out more?
Croydon's Locality SEND funding team have said they have started communicating with parents and carers in affected schools about the scheme. In addition, information about the scheme has been posted on the website of each school which is involved as an early adopter.
If you can't find this information on your school's website or haven't received direct information about the changes, please contact your school's SENCO.
How Will this affect the EHCP Application & Assessment process?
Not sure yet. The LA says that part of the reason for doing this is to avoid the need for lengthy bureacratic processes (such as the EHCP timeline) but that EHCPs will still exist. However, it seems likely that they may try to use EHCPs for the more complex cases (and specialist settings), and use this local policy-driven scheme for other levels of support.
This means that there are likely to be additional hurdles to getting an EHCP for a child or young person in one of these early adopter schools, at least if a school wants to apply for a Statutory Needs Assessment in the usual way. There may also be some changes to how the provision detailed in an EHCP is funded.
Please note: Local policy does not trump the law.
It is still possible for parents to apply for a Statutory Needs Assessment themselves. See this page and model letter on the IPSEA site for details of how to do this.
We are also investigating what this scheme means for a family's right to appeal, transfer of provision between schools and key stages and so on.
What is Croydon Parent Carer Forum's involvement in ALL this?
We have not been involved in the conception, development or delivery of this project. There has been no consultation or coproduction with families that we are aware of.
We were made aware of it in early 2020, by which point it had already been in development for some time.
At that time, we wrote to Croydon Council's SEND department leaders with a long list of questions about the scheme and how it would be delivered, as well as raising concerns about the legal basis for the scheme and knock-on effects for families (e.g. the right to appeal decisions).
We have been in correspondence with those involved since then, and although more clarity is emerging about how the scheme will be run, we remain concerned and do not feel the core issues have been addressed sufficiently.
We are monitoring the progress of the scheme, and will make sure the experiences of children and young people with SEND and their Parents and Carers are shared, as well as bringing any concerns or questions about how the scheme is being run (and its affect on children/young people) to the appropriate forum.
We will continue to ask questions about the project and seek clarification where needed, in the spirit of the PCF's role of "critical friend".
HOW can I help The Parent Forum to do this?
If you have a child with SEND in any of the "early adopter" schools listed above, we would appreciate it if you could forward any communication you receive about this issue to the CroydonPCF steering group email so we can keep an eye on what parents and carers are being told, to make sure it's consistent, clear and accurate.
Also, if you have been told anything about SEND funding or EHCP eligibility this year by your school SENCO, head, teacher or anyone in the LA (especially if it made you go 🤔) and you would like to feed back anonymously, please let us know via the form below or use the contact form.
Last updated: 21 October 2020