June 2018

What is banding?

Banding is a way for local authorities (“LAs”) to allocate levels of top-up funding for securing special educational provision for those children and young people with EHC plans. These are not statutory arrangements and each LA will have its own mechanism for allocating funding. 

Banding and special educational provision

Under s.42 Children and Families Act 2014, the LA must secure all the special educational provision in the EHC plan.  Therefore, LAs should make sure that the funding allocated to an EHC plan is sufficient to do so.  The LA remains ultimately responsible for making the provision if school cannot or will not do so.  Banding should be allocated once the special educational provision has been determined and not the other way around.

If the LA fails to secure the provision in the plan, then this would be a breach of its duty and you can complain and ask the LA to secure the provision. IPSEA has a model letter you can adapt for this purpose.

Banding and specification in the EHC plan

An EHC plan can refer to bands or other funding arrangements but not instead of specification of special educational provision (which, in most cases, will require the quantification of such provision see: SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015; L v Clarke and Somerset [1998] ELR 129; JD v South Tyneside [2016] UKUT 9 (AAC); B-M and B-M v Oxfordshire CC [2018] UKUT 35 (AAC)).

At the point where an EHC plan is issued or the LA makes a decision following an annual review, if the EHC plan does not specify the special educational needs or provision then there is a right of appeal to the SEND Tribunal which you could exercise to seek specification.

Once the EHC plan is in place, the LA has to maintain it.  If the EHC plan does not specify the special educational needs or provision then you might want to see if you can have changes made to the EHC plan: the annual review is often a good time to seek changes.

IPSEA has information about seeking these changes here.

Remember

Banding should never be a barrier to the special educational provision which is required by a child or young person being specified, quantified or delivered. IPSEA’s volunteers can advise you and  provide you with information about what to do if you have concerns about banding, special educational provision or EHC plans.