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Education and SEND support

Last updated: 10 February 2022

How SEND provision is funded

Early years settings and schools have money in their budgets to support children with SEND. If your child has more complex, long-term needs that the school cannot fund, you can apply for an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

Further education and sixth-form colleges are independent and have money in their budgets to support students with SEND. They can also ask their funding organisations to provide extra money to support students with more complex needs if they’re unable to do so.

There are three levels or ‘elements’ of funding for education support for children and young people with special educational needs.

Element 1 funding: provides for every child or young person on roll in an early-years setting, school or college. It pays for the school building, class teachers, etc.

Element 2 funding: is part of the budget in schools and further education settings for children with additional needs, including SEND. Government has said that mainstream schools and colleges can spend up to £6,000 on each child with additional needs from within their own budgets.  This ‘delegated funding’ is for schools to provide early intervention support, such as small group or individual support or special equipment.

Element 3 funding: is also called ‘top-up’ funding and its only available with an EHC plan. This may be an option if a child with SEND has been receiving support but is failing to progress.   

Schools publish the support that they provide from within their budgets. You can find details of this in the ‘SEN Information Report’ on a school’s website.