Frequently asked questions
How would we access Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool)?
As standard, Formulate for SEND is accessed by Local Authority staff via a simple online platform provided by Imosphere. This enables a quick and simple means of calculating an estimated amount of top-up funding, which can be particularly helpful whilst the tool 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.
Have schools/colleges and parents/carers been involved in developing Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool)?
Throughout the development of Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool), 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.
Where does Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool) fit in the EHC process?
For the majority of local authorities, Formulate would be used 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 Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool). 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.
How long is an implementation of the Education Banding Tool likely to take?
A typical implementation of Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool) can take between 9 and 15 months, depending on the length of the pilot the local authority wishes to undertake. There are also several key deliverables required from the local authority as part of the project, for example, the completion of a configuration document for the tool. These deliverables can cause delays to the implementation if they are not available at the required stage in the project.
Can Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool) support us to monitor progress towards outcomes for children/young people?
Our self-service analytics platform, Atmolytics, is available for all local authorities using Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool). 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.
Are parents/carers or schools/colleges able to see the tool?
This is a local decision, and varies between areas. Most local authorities 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.
How have other local authorities approached changes in funding between the new estimated amount, and the amount currently being provided to schools/colleges?
Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool) provides a means of facilitating discussions with schools/colleges and/or parents/carers. The tool 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 tool 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 tool 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 local authorities 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 local authorities 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.
How have other Local Authorities transitioned to the new approach to funding?
Some local authorities have chosen to implement Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool) 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 tool 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.
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 local authority 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.
Who would use Formulate for SEND (Education Banding Tool)?
The Needs Profile (which informs the tool’s calculations), would be completed by members of the local authority’s 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.