Schools: Finance

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th June 2019.

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Photo of Emma Lewell-Buck Emma Lewell-Buck Labour, South Shields

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his Answer of 7 March 2019 to Question 228138, if he will publish any assessment carried out on the effect on disabled children of any decision to not allow local authorities to move funding from the schools block into the high needs block.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We are keen for funding allocated through the schools’ block to be passed on to schools, which is why as part of the introduction of the national funding formula (NFF), we made the decision to ring-fence this funding from 2018-19 onwards. However, in recognition of the importance of local flexibility, we have allowed local authorities to transfer of up to 0.5% out of the schools funding block of the dedicated schools grant to the high needs funding block, with the agreement of their schools forum. We produced an equalities impact assessment alongside the NFF, which considered potential impacts on children with protected characteristics, which can be accessed at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/648520/NFF_Equalities_Impact-Assessment.pdf.

Exceptionally, local authorities can apply for transfers outside these rules. Within the schools revenue funding operational guide (paragraph 138): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pre-16-schools-funding-guidance-for-2019-to-2020, we set out what evidence we expect a local authority to present to their schools forum to support any proposals to transfer funding from the schools block.

In submitting an exceptional case to transfer funding from the schools block, local authorities have to carry out an assessment of the equalities implications of their proposal. These equalities assessments, the published equalities impact assessment (link above) and the quality of the evidence provided by local authorities are all taken into account in the evaluation of exceptional cases put forward by local authorities.

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