What is an “efficient use of resources”?

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Parent Question:

Can you please explain what is meant by 'efficient use of resources' as in Section 39, 227 ?

We are asking for a post 16 special school college which is just over our local authority border,(a local authority school). There is nothing else in our area that offers the curriculum my child wants to follow for her aspirations. Everyone agrees appropriate but not sure it will be funded.

ipsea answers

IPSEA Answers:

Aghhh! The age old question which was relevant under the old law and still under the new. It’s all about the money! Would it cost an LA more to place a young person in the parent/young person’s choice of school or college rather than one that the LA considers as suitable but which is cheaper.

The law does not recognise LA geographical boundaries so you are not limited by that (which unfortunately many LA’s fail to make clear to parents). What is important is to look at the total cost of the placement to the LA including all cost including education, health and social care plus anything else which is an expense to the “public purse” but will be provided by the child or young person being in a particular school/college. Here is a very simple example. It is agreed that a child needs 1 hour direct speech and language therapy per week.

The LA wants the child to attend a mainstream school which does not have a speech and language therapist on staff. The cost of the LA placement is £15,000 p.a. plus the cost of the speech and language therapy which is £2,280 p.a. (38 hours @ £60 per hour). Parents want an independent special school. The fee for that school is £18,000 p.a. When you compare the total cost of the two placements you can see that the parent’s choice would be cheaper so there is no inefficient use of resources. If the LA had however failed to include the additional SALT cost in the calculation you can see it could fall the other way.

It is vital to be clear what the two placements can provide and at what cost. Where a statement or EHC plan is not specified properly it is very difficult to work this out. Where it is not clear what a school/college can provide from within its existing resources – funding and professional expertise – it is also very difficult. That is why it is so important that an LA Local Offer document sets out what it expects its schools to provide from existing funds (as opposed to what is actually does). Unfortunately it is hard to find one at the moment that actually does that.

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