What funding there is for special educational needs or disability (SEND) in mainstream schools, including maintained schools, academies and free schools.

A mainstream school can be:

  • a maintained school controlled by the council
  • an academy or a free school run by a trust; these can include one school or more than one school (multi academy trust)

What SEND funding is for

The SEND Code of Practice says that schools, academies and colleges need information on their website about:

  • the kind of support available and how children can access it
  • how settings should involve parents, carers and young people
  • how the setting will adapt teaching to meet the pupil's needs
  • any staff that can provide support
  • how progress is reviewed
  • what support is provided when moving up from school to college

Schools should use some of their budget to buy resources and make provision for children who need extra help. Children with SEND might need:

  • changes to the curriculum
  • special equipment
  • to use extra information technology
  • small group work
  • additional support in the classroom
  • somewhere quiet to work
  • the people who work with them to get specialised professional advice

Where funding for SEND comes from

Mainstream schools

All mainstream schools have money for SEND support and resources. The council:

  • makes sure there are enough school places for all pupils, including those with SEND
  • allocates additional high needs top up funding for pupils whose needs cost more than most other pupils' in the school

All mainstream schools are funded based on their pupil numbers. The amount of funding each pupil attracts into the school varies according to that pupil's circumstances.

Every pupil will attract a Basic Entitlement amount, which varies by Key Stage. Pupils may also attract additional funding into a school if they:

  • get free school meals
  • live in an area of deprivation
  • have English as a second language
  • have low attainment

Schools use this funding to make general provision for all pupils in the same school. Some of this funding must be used to support pupils with SEND. This is call the school's 'notional SEND budget'.

How much different educational settings get

  • pre-16 special units and resource bases get: £6,000 per place and top up where applicable
  • post-16 special units and resource bases in schools get £6,000 per place and top up where applicable
  • pre-16 and post-16 maintained special schools, special academies and free schools get £10,000 per place and top up where applicable
  • non-maintained special schools get £10,000 per place and top up where applicable
  • pupil referral units (PRUs) get £10,000 per pre-16 place
  • independent special schools currently sit outside the high needs place funding system
  • further education institutions get £6,000 per place per student with SEND placed

What SEND funding pays for

Schools use their SEND funding to pay for things like:

  • buying specialist resources and equipment, including simple auxiliary aids like a pen grip to additional specialist software that supports spelling
  • employing additional specialist support staff
  • professional advice from local area partners such as educational psychologists or speech and language therapists
  • arranging specialist staff training

High needs funding

If your child has very complex needs, the school can ask for some additional funding to top up the funding provided to a setting. The setting must spend it to provide support for the pupil that the top-up funding is for. Types of specialist support can include:

  • access to educational psychology services
  • therapeutic interventions
  • highly specialised resources, such as social communication and interaction groups, specialised speech and language therapy or ICT modifications

You can find out more about how your child's school uses their SEND money by reading their SEND information report.

Search for a school

Find your child's school on our Family Information Directory. You will also find a link to their SEND information report.