In March 2022, the Department for Education (DfE) announced the ‘High Needs Provision Capital Allocation (HNPCA)’ for financial years 2022-23 and 2023-24.
This funding is used to support local authorities to deliver new school places or improve existing provisions for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).
It was previously known as the ‘Special Provision Capital Fund’.
Allocations for 2022-23 to 2023-24
Somerset’s two-year allocation has been confirmed as approximately £10.1 million, which will be split as follows
- 2022-2023 financial year – £4.2 million
- 2023–2024 financial year – £5.9 million
HNPCA funding is mainly used to meet the capital costs associated with providing new places and improving existing provisions for children and young people with SEND , including those with complex needs, who have Education, Health and Care plans.
HNPCA can fund projects that
- enable or increase access to mainstream placements for children and young people who might otherwise have required more specialist provision
- increase the local availability of High Needs places where this can help reduce out of area placements and associated transport or residential costs, and reduce reliance on poor quality, inappropriate or more expensive
- provision, where local provision can be provided at a less ongoing cost
adapt, re-model or improve existing High Needs places to make them suitable for a wider range of needs.
HNPCA projects could involve
- expanding existing High Needs provision (including expanding the existing provision to a different or additional site)
- reconfiguring existing provisions to make available space for additional places or specialist facilities
- creating new High Needs provisions, such as specialist units or resourced provisions in mainstream schools or the creation of new settings
- re-purposing existing buildings or facilities, so they better meet the needs of children and young people with complex needs.
Through our School Access Initiative, HNPCA investment will also enhance access to existing provisions for children and young people with SEND by improving
- their physical access to the school (for example, ramps and handrails)
- their physical movement around the buildings (for example, automated doors)
- their access to the curriculum (for example, specialist furniture and IT equipment)
- facilities within school buildings (for example, medical rooms and acoustic improvements).
In August 2022, the Lead Member for Children and Families asked officers to start working on a capital programme.
Engagement with parents and carers will be crucial when developing a programme of activity and making sure that services will meet the needs of children and families. We will consult with the Somerset Parent Carer Forum and other strategic partners over the priorities in Somerset.
We will also consult with local school leaders, governing bodies, academy trusts, and parents and carers, as and when specific proposals begin to emerge.