Ten things you need to know about our Education Banding Tool
Here are the top ten things you need to know about our Education Banding Tool (EBT).
1. Where does the tool fit in the EHC process?
For the majority of LAs, the Needs Profile and EBT would be completed once an EHC Plan has been drafted, either as a new plan or following a review. At this stage in the EHC process, there should be enough evidence available to record a holistic view of the child or young person’s strengths and challenges in the Needs Profile.
The responses in the Needs Profile will generate an estimated education band and a locally configured amount of top-up funding through the EBT. This will support decision-making when agreeing the actual top-up funding and provisions to be provided to support the child or young person’s outcomes in the EHC Plan.
2. Who would complete it?
The Needs Profile (which informs the EBT’s calculations), would be completed by members of the LAs EHC team. The scoring of the Needs Profile should be based on the evidence of the child or young person’s SEND in the EHC Plan, provided by various EHC professionals.
3. Are parents/carers or schools/colleges able to see the tool?
This is a local decision, and varies between areas. Most LAs make a decision on sharing the Needs Profile with schools/colleges and/or parents/carers on a case by case basis, with the tool predominantly being used to support internal decision-making through panels or other decision-making forums.
4. Who’s been involved in the development?
Throughout the development, parent/carer representatives and school/college heads have attended several of our user groups to give their input on the tool.
In addition, we strongly encourage parent/carer representatives and schools/colleges to be invited to project steering groups during local implementations, to ensure they are involved in the process.
5. How have other LAs transitioned to the new approach to funding?
Some have chosen to implement the EBT through a phased or ‘soft’ implementation, generating a band and estimated level of top-up funding for new cases only at first. Others have opted to undertake longer pilot phases, to ensure the EBT generates the appropriate band and estimated top-up funding amount for existing cases, before agreeing a go-live date to use the tool for all cases.
6. How have other LAs approached changes in funding between the new estimated amount, and the amount currently being provided to schools/colleges?
The EBT and Needs Profile provide a means of facilitating discussions with schools/colleges and/or parents/carers. It gives a starting point for discussing funding amounts, by estimating an amount of top-up funding to support SEND in a fair and consistent way, based on the child or young person’s individual needs and outcomes.
Where there is disagreement over the estimated amount, the first step is to ensure the levels of need recorded in the Needs Profile reflect the child or young person appropriately. In this way, the Needs Profile also acts as an evidence base for challenges to decisions where needs may not have been reflected appropriately. However, the EBT is only able to provide an estimate, and the actual amount of top-up funding provided may be different for a number of reasons.
Where the EBT estimates a different level of top-up funding to support a child or young person’s needs than is currently provided, following agreement with the school/college, most LAs have opted to either gradually reduce or increase the top-up funding provided as needed, to ensure the child or young person’s outcomes are met. Alternatively, some LAs have opted to continue to provide the previously agreed level of top-up funding where this is meeting the child or young person’s outcomes appropriately.
7. How long is an implementation likely to take?
Between six to twelve months, depending on the length of the pilot the LA wishes to undertake. There are also several key deliverables required from them as part of the project, for example, the completion of a configuration document for the EBT. These deliverables can cause delays to the implementation if they are not available at the required stage in the project.
8. What resources do we need for an implementation?
It’s essential that we’re provided with a day-to-day contact to liaise with throughout the project, who will manage the implementation of the project locally, such as a project manager. In addition, the LA should arrange a project steering group to be attended by key stakeholders and decision makers at various points throughout the project. Finally, members of the EHC team will be required at points during the project to support with data collection/testing, and/or to submit cases as part of a pilot phase.
9. How would we access it?
The majority of customers currently using it access it through one of our web-based platforms. These platforms enable a quick and simple means of calculating an estimated amount of top-up funding, which can be particularly helpful whilst the EBT is in its pilot phase. Alternatively, it could also be built into your local IT system, to help streamline the process and avoid the need for staff to ‘leave’ their core system.
10. Can it support us to monitor progress towards outcomes for children/young people?
Our self-service analytics platform, Atmolytics, is available for all LAs using the EBT. This platform enables you to report on changes in the needs captured within the Needs Profile over time, as well as monitoring changes in the estimated and actual levels of top-up funding provided.
To book a demo or to learn more, please get in touch.