DfE overrules Middlesbrough schools forum on higher-needs funding

Middlesbrough Council has been given permission to move money from general schools funding to cover spikes in demand for higher-needs funding after the DfE overruled the local schools forum.

Hartlepool and Northumberland local authorities were also given permission to move the funding, which is used to pay for special needs places and excluded pupils, with the agreement of their schools forums.

Under the government’s new plans, just 0.5 per cent of schools funding can be moved into the high-needs block for special schools and pupil referral units, should it be needed to cover increased demand for places. Councils need the approval of a schools forum, a group of local heads, to transfer the money, which Hartlepool and Northumberland received, but Middlesbrough did not.

27 local authorities however appealed their school forum’s ruling to the DfE, four of which may now move the money without schools forum agreement. 12 councils appealed and were turned down.

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