The school funding review and future funding of AP Academies
A consultation on school funding was published in July 2011, and set out a range of
proposals for reforming funding arrangements for high needs pupils, which includes
pupils placed in AP settings. In March 2012, the Government’s response to the
consultation on school funding, ‘School Funding Reform: Next steps towards a fairer
system’ was published (see section 7, p.27).
The new funding arrangements outlined in this document will introduce a more pupil-led
set of funding arrangements for the AP sector, while balancing this by providing AP
settings with a base level of funding to offer some stability of funding. It is proposed that
this base level of funding would be allocated to providers on the basis of an agreed
number of planned places, and that the level of base funding would be set at £8,000 per
planned place. Funding above this level would come from the commissioner (either a
local authority, a mainstream school or an Academy) on a per-pupil basis (‘top up
funding’). This new approach to funding is called ‘place-plus’ to reflect the mixture of
place-led and pupil-led funding.
There is considerable flexibility about how these arrangements can work locally, and
commissioners and AP Academies are strongly encouraged to have detailed discussions
about how these funding arrangements will work locally. They should work closely
together to agree how places will be commissioned, how top-up funding will be provided
by the commissioner and when – so that both commissioners and AP Academies are
confident that they can continue to deliver high quality outcomes for local pupils.
This new reformed funding approach for the AP sector will apply to all state-funded AP
providers, including maintained PRUs and AP Academies. Whether a PRU decides to
become an AP Academy or not, the new funding arrangements will apply to them when it
is introduced. However, we want to ensure that the introduction of these funding
arrangements does not create undue disruption, and the DfE will continue to work with
the sector to ensure that the transition to the new system is as smooth as possible. The
DfE is working towards introducing these reforms at the start of FY2013-14.
The principle of Academy funding remains one of equivalence and AP Academies will
receive funding equivalent to that which they would have received as a maintained AP
provider. They will be no better or worse off. AP Academies will also receive LACSEG
(Local Authority Central Spending Equivalent Grant) to take account of the services that
they would have received from the local authority as a maintained PRU.
PRUs providing hospital education should note that as outlined in the new funding
document, the department is currently working with the hospital school sector in order to
develop a sustainable, non-bureaucratic way of funding hospital education, with further
details available in due course. Such PRUs can still register an interest with the
Department by going to the section of the Department for Education website
(www.education.gov.uk) relating to becoming an Academy.