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jlp

How much does a statement cost?

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jlp   

I'm currently thinking about secondary education for my son (ds1) who's 10 and about to go into Y6. He attends an ASD unit attached to mainstream (which he doesn't access). It's difficult to see where he'll be best as he has apparently got mainstream academic ability (I don't agree - he doesn't know his 2x times table, how to tie a shoe lace or tell the time, however he is very advanced reading wise and retains a lot of facts that way). He wouldn't cope in mainstream however, I do know that and I'm not prepared to accept a unit at secondary as it's been quite isolating for him (due to his own worries about being different).

 

So whilst looking I came across a special school that costs approx £18,000 a year and this got me wondering - how much will he be costing the LA to be in an ASD unit with a statement? Does the fact that a child has a statement bring in a specific amount of extra income for a school regardless of which school? Or does it depend on the provision? Or does it depend on the actual statement itself? For example he was in mainstream with full time one to one previously, would this bring more money into the school than now where he is in a unit? Ds2 is in a special school of only 30 children - is his statement at great financial cost?

 

All very confusing and I wondered if there was a standard formula?

Edited by jlp

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JsMum   

It isnt about money, but Needs, if your son NEEDS a special school than it has to be provided and the LEA pay the amount.

 

My son recieved a statement in yr 4 aroud and recieved 16hrs 1-1. around 5 grand a year

 

then in year 6 he recieved funding for full time one to one, around 10 grand a yr.

 

In yr 7 we went to tribunal for J to go to a residential school, we didnt get quite as far as a tribunal as we had evidence to prove that Js needs was not been met in a maintream school/unit and required a specialist school which costs over £100:000 per yr, and then there is transport costs ontop and full time one to one as even in a specialist school he requires full time support.

 

So it goes by needs,not by costs though your LEA may use the financial issues as a reason not to send him just as they did with us, they used the insifficiant use of resources however there wasnt anything locally that could of met his needs, like your son, my son is very able academically, reaching level 5s in some areas but in other barely reaching level 2, and struggling socially, emotionally and mentally, so it is very difficult to get the right enviroement, I would defo go and see this special school to see what the differences are, take a camera and note the class sizes, spersific therapies such as Speech and Language, Occupational Therapies, Councilling, and all the extra that you dont get in a mainstream school.

 

If you have the evidence to prove your sons needs are best met in a special school then you need to request this in part 4 of his statement, if they say no you then appeal and go to send.

 

£18:000 per yr compaired to private/independant/non maintained school the LEA might well bite your hand off and give you the placement as £18:000per yr sounds very reasonable and cheap to be honest for a special school, is it LEA.

 

JsMUMX

Edited by JsMum

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Karen A   

I'm currently thinking about secondary education for my son (ds1) who's 10 and about to go into Y6. He attends an ASD unit attached to mainstream (which he doesn't access). It's difficult to see where he'll be best as he has apparently got mainstream academic ability (I don't agree - he doesn't know his 2x times table, how to tie a shoe lace or tell the time, however he is very advanced reading wise and retains a lot of facts that way). He wouldn't cope in mainstream however, I do know that and I'm not prepared to accept a unit at secondary as it's been quite isolating for him (due to his own worries about being different).

 

So whilst looking I came across a special school that costs approx £18,000 a year and this got me wondering - how much will he be costing the LA to be in an ASD unit with a statement? Does the fact that a child has a statement bring in a specific amount of extra income for a school regardless of which school? Or does it depend on the provision? Or does it depend on the actual statement itself? For example he was in mainstream with full time one to one previously, would this bring more money into the school than now where he is in a unit? Ds2 is in a special school of only 30 children - is his statement at great financial cost?

 

All very confusing and I wondered if there was a standard formula?

 

Hi.

In short no there is no standard formula.

The LA has the responsibility to fund what is documented in a Statement.

For pupils in mainstream the actual amount of money that the LA give to the school to fund provision varies widely.It depends broadly on how much the LA already delegates [at SA and SA plus],what provision the school has already,what input the LA has that is already funded and in most cases how much the LA feels it can avoid spending. :rolleyes:

 

 

So some LA's provide schools with some funding for pupils with Statements.However increasingly certainly for pupils with Statements who do not require support for the majority of the school day the LA may issue a Statement but not provide money to go with it.

 

From my time on the Forum I had gathered that my LA was one of the better ones.However it has in the last year started to issue Statements with no funding expecting the schools to manage with what is delegated.

 

If the Statement that a child has has some funding with it then this should in theory be spent on what is funded in the Statement.

However it is very difficult to prove or disprove that this is the case.

So in practice the Statement if funded may well bring in extra income.

A HT would certainly be happy to have a child with a funded Statement rather than one that was not funded.

 

It may be worth contacting Parent Partnership for your area.

They may well be aware of how well or badly Statements are funded .

Karen.

Edited by Karen A

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Sally44   

As already said there is no formula.

The Statement is about needs - however LEAs have to demonstrate a good 'use of their resources' which means they have to spend their money prudently and if they argue that they can fulfil the needs of your child in one of their schools they will argue that that will be cheaper than an independent option.

That is not always the case, but sometimes tribunal decisions to boil down to money and which option is more cost effective and that can work out to be an LEA school or an independent school.

 

The important thing is for the Statement to be a true reflection of your child. Each and every need should be identified in section 2, and it should quantify and specify how each of those needs will be met in section 3 which provision and staffing levels (and amount of outside professional input too).

 

So section 2 and 3 should add up to the kind of placement in section 4.

 

It is much harder to find an LEA placement for a bright or around average child who is not making progress in a mainstream school. The only other LEA option is usually LEA special school which usually cater for children with a lower cognitive ability. Our children usually have spiky profiles which makes them good in some areas and very poor in others. Some children with an ASD may remain mainstream and get qualifications. Other children may also have lower cognitive ability and may go onto attend a special school.

 

Many parents find that the only option for their child (around average but not making progress academically or socially etc) is independent school. But you will need to go to an educational tribunal before the LEA will agree to that kind of placement, and you need evidence that that school environment is what your child needs.

 

So start with what you have and what you know. Look at what secondary provision is available for your child within your LEA. What is the usual feeder school for where he attends now? Talk to the professionals involved with him about 'where they see him in year 7' and what kind of support he would need and what kind of school environment etc.

 

Although your child has advanced reading age, that does not therefore mean he has the skills or understanding to be able to go into a mainstream school and sit in a mainstream class.

 

Learning involves being able to take on board either auditory or visual information, process and understand it, manipulate it and demonstrate learning by producing work, essays etc that answer specific questions relating to the information we have taken in. Many on the spectrum can absorb huge amounts of information. But they may not process it, or understand it, or be able to manipulate it to come to conclusions or prove a point. They absorb and regurgitate (not as simple as that, but I think you know what I mean).

 

Have you spoken to organisations like the NAS, or IPSEA or SOSSEN? It sounds like your child is too capable academically to be in an autism unit (unless that was the specific peer group within the unit), which also makes a 'special school' an unsuitable peer group too - yet cannot access whole class mainstream learning. So you may well be right that an indpendent school is the right educational environment.

 

How much support does your son currently get in terms of hours?

What professionals such as SALT, OT, EP currently see him, how often, and for how long.

What is the teaching ratio in the unit, and is he taught by a specialist teacher or a TA.

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Sally44   

Most schools now get 'delegated funding' for SEN. That means the LEA already gives the SEN budget to the school.

This usually equates to up to 15 hours of support per week. I do not know what the amount per child is for delegated funding.

If a child requires more support than that a Statement maybe issued.

At this point the school can request addtional funding from the LEA to fulfill the Statement.

LEAs are legally required to fulfill Statesments and have to fund any shortfall in provision even if that provision is to be provided by another authority (such as Speech and Language Therapy or Occupational Therapy). That is case law (which means that tribunals will follow other similar case rulings - and you can find examples of these case law rulings on the IPSEA website). So if your child needs weekly 1:1 SALT sessions and the NHS do not provide that level of service, the LEA has to buy in the level of service quantified and specified in your child's Statement.

 

I don't know how you work out the hourly cost of SALT, EP or OT as they are involved with your child.

 

LEAs often argue about transport costs to any independent school, but if they already transport another child to that same school the transport costs are NIL for the additional child (or is usually argued and won on that basis.

 

I don't know how you work out the hourly cost of TA or LSA support, or dinnertime clubs, social use of language groups etc.

 

I'm sure others on the forum have had to go to that depth of costings and have better advice on this specific area.

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Karen A   
I don't know how you work out the hourly cost of TA or LSA support, or dinnertime clubs, social use of language groups etc

 

Two options that give a rough idea.

Ask around in an informal way and a helpful TA working in the borough may be prepared to give some idea of hourly pay.

Look at adverts in the local paper.The free paper delivered to homes in our LA has adverts in just about every week which detail wages and hours per week.

Lunchtime clubs may well be funded through delegated funding so may not be included.

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Sally44   

I think there should be an open and honest formula for working this out, because the LEA always argue from a "good use of their resources" point of view, and then you struggle to get any figures, or realistic figures at all. There should be an open way of comparing without massaging the figures.

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jlp   

It's not simple is it? Actually a lot more confusing than I thought.

 

I'm actually about to begin a position as a TA in an ASD provision so will be aware of how much I cost!

 

I think I'll keep looking at schools and not worry too much about the financial side till we find the right one

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It is difficult as eg: an asd unit will be using lots of things that are already there as part of the whole school budget (eg: science facitilies, PE facilities, toilets) so how do you work out that part of the cost? Likewise, LA special schools benefit from having lots of children in one building and can argue that they do not need their own SaLT/OT/ etc as the NHS can provide that (as if!). Indpendent schools have to set fees, so generally it is easier to find out their costs (though some charge differently depending on the child's needs).

 

As a parent you just need to find a school that can meet all your child's needs. The LA will not pay for a school that can offer more than your child needs, but it will have to pay if it is the only school that can meet all their needs.

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Most schools now get 'delegated funding' for SEN. That means the LEA already gives the SEN budget to the school.

This usually equates to up to 15 hours of support per week. I do not know what the amount per child is for delegated funding.

If a child requires more support than that a Statement maybe issued.

At this point the school can request addtional funding from the LEA to fulfill the Statement.

 

We have delegated funding under our LA. It does not work like this.

 

The LA decides how much each school's SEN budget will be, based on criteria including league table performance, how many children have free school dinners, and predictable need (eg how many children are on the SEN register). This budget has to cover all the SEN within the school, including Statements. No additional funding is provided and Statements do not carry separate funding. The LA's policy is that specific hours of support do not need to be written in to Part 3 of a Statement, to give the school flexibility and allow them to use their SEN budgets as effectively as possible. It sounds great on paper, but in practice it's rubbish.

 

When delegated funding was introduced most schools found that their SEN budgets were slashed. Consequently it's very common to find that schools cannot even pay for the required support stipulated in Statements, let alone meet the needs of children on SA+ or SA etc.

 

The result is that schools are now asking for Statements to be as unspecific as possible, because they know that they will not be able to meet and pay for specific requirements. The system is totally funding-led and not needs-led, as it should be. What a farce! It's true that ultimately the LA must ensure that Statements are met (unless, of course, the school becomes an academy and breaks away from LA control), but I'm not aware of that happening as yet. We may be the first test case with DS1!!!

 

Getting back to the OP, when we first went to tribunal over DS2's placement, we needed to find out how much his mainstream placement was costing, with the cost of all the support in the Statement added on (eg SALT, OT, 1:1 teaching) - this was before delegated funding - so we could compare it with the cost of a specialist placement. I don't remember the exact figures, but the LA downplayed it as much as possible, eg saying they paid nothing for SALT because they had a blanket contract with the NHS SALT, altho this was a nonsense because the NHS SALT service kept discharging him even though it was a big part of his Statement...

 

A tribunal is likely to take such financial issues into consideration, especially when the LA is arguing about use of resources, but it will also take the child's needs into consideration. With DS2, the LA finally agreed to a specialist out of county placement for him because there is absolutely no provision within the LA that could possibly meet his needs. That costs the LA a great deal of money, with transport costs on top; it's a weird system that pays out such enormous amounts for the specialist out of county placements but doesn't provide enough money to fulfil Statements at its mainstream placements...

 

My advice would be to try not to worry about the finances until, as you say, you find the appropriate placement. Then you will need to prove that this is the only one that can meet your child's needs, and that any others can't; it won't work just to say this is the best one for him, you have to prove that it is the ONLY one for him.

 

The finances are the LA's concern. It's very unreasonable for the LA or schools to throw financial issues at you, but sadly they do and they will. If that happens, don't be overwhelmed. Stick to your guns and, if necessary, go to a higher authority eg tribunal or ombudsman. We are on the verge of that ourselves, having ended the summer term planning to complain officially about non-compliance of DS1's Statement, but then the summer holidays got in the way and we have to start again from next week, with a new head and a new SENCO - which may turn out to be a good thing...!

 

sorry, jlp, no clear-cut answers!

 

Lizzie xxx

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Karen A   

We have delegated funding under our LA. It does not work like this.

 

The LA decides how much each school's SEN budget will be, based on criteria including league table performance, how many children have free school dinners, and predictable need (eg how many children are on the SEN register). This budget has to cover all the SEN within the school, including Statements. No additional funding is provided and Statements do not carry separate funding. The LA's policy is that specific hours of support do not need to be written in to Part 3 of a Statement, to give the school flexibility and allow them to use their SEN budgets as effectively as possible. It sounds great on paper, but in practice it's rubbish.

 

When delegated funding was introduced most schools found that their SEN budgets were slashed. Consequently it's very common to find that schools cannot even pay for the required support stipulated in Statements, let alone meet the needs of children on SA+ or SA etc.

 

Yes our LA is heading that way too.

Karen.

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