SEND funding

Early years funding

Early years providers receive money from the Free Early Education Entitlement and the Nursery Education Grant to help prepare young children for starting primary school in the Reception year.

SEN inclusion funding

Stoke-on-Trent Early Years settings and childminders can apply for additional funding towards providing support or resources for a child with SEND. This is known as SEN Inclusion Funding. Settings must make a new application each term by completing the SEN inclusion funding form and emailing it to by the deadline for each term. Funding levels depend on the child's developmental levels sa well as the number of hours that htye attend the setting.

Disability access fund

Settings are entitled to a Disability Access Fund payment if they have a 3 or 4 year old child in receipt of Disability Living Allowance attending their setting. This can only be claimed once every 12 months.  You will need to provide a copy of the letter informing Parents that their child is eligible for DLA. Funding is requested via the Portal - please contact the EY Finance Team for more information at

Useful links:

Childcare – SEND Local Offer (

2023-24 SEN inclusion fund application form – SEND Local Offer (

Early years inclusive learning service - information for parents and carers – SEND Local Offer (

Primary and secondary funding

Funding is allocated to mainstream schools and academies from three main sources or ‘elements’.

Element 1

Most of a school’s funding is based on the total number of pupils in the school – they receive money for each pupil - this is also called the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU). Some of this money is for general SEND provision such as paying for a SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator).

The amount of the AWPU is different in each Local Authority and there is usually more funding for secondary school pupils than for primary school pupils. The Education Funding Agency sets the AWPU for academies and free schools.

Element 2

This funding is to provide SEND support. This is support that is different or more than the support that most children get.

The local authority decides how much of this funding a school should get using a formula which takes a number of factors into account. For instance, they give more money to schools who have had lower results in Maths and English in the past, who have greater numbers of children with English as an additional language and those schools who have more children receiving free school meals. The Education Funding Agency provides this funding for academies and free schools. Element 2 funding is also part of schools’ delegated budget.

Government guidance says schools should provide up to the first £6,000 of additional or different support for those children who need it, including those with an Education, Health and Care plan (or a Statement of Special Educational Need). This does not mean that the school will spend £6,000 on every child with SEN. Sometimes schools use funds to help groups of children. Some children will need less help – and some children may need more.

You can ask your school how it uses its SEND budget to support your child and whether it has enough to make all the provision they need. You can find out more about a school’s arrangements for SEND support by reading the SEND information report on their website.

Element 3

Some pupils have such complex needs that their school may request some additional funding to top up Element 1 and Element 2 funding. Element 3 funding is managed by the local authority and it is sometimes called the ‘high needs block’. This funding can be used to make specific provision for an individual child or a group of children, if the school can show that it is necessary.

These funding arrangements do not override the local authority’s duty to your child to ensure they receive any necessary provision that the school itself cannot make. The law says that the local authority must find out via an EHC needs assessment whether an EHC plan is needed when a child or young person may have SEND that may need the local authority to secure provision. So if your school is unable to make all the provision your child needs within their own resources, you have the right to ask for an EHC needs assessment.

Post 16 funding

The above Post 16 providers receive Element 1 & 2 funding of £6,000 per place for each Post 16 student provided by The Education, Skills and Funding Agency. High Needs students with SEND are then allocated additional Element 3 top-up funding if required. Element 3 funding is managed by the local authority.

Specialist post 16 institutions funding

The above Post 16 provider receives Element 1 funding of £5,600 and Element 2 funding of £6,000 per place for each Post 16 students provided by the Education, Skills and Funding Agency. Post 16 students placed in a Specialist  Post 16 Institution are allocated additional Element 3 top-up funding. Element 3 funding is managed by the local authority.

Specialist setting funding

When a child is attending a specialist SEND placement they are funded in a different way to a pupil at a mainstream school with SEND. Maintained Specialist Provision in Stoke-on-Trent is funded by the local authority and they pay for the placement (£10,000) for each place at a specialist setting. Pupils are then allocated additional top-up funding if they need it.

Some useful resources:

Personal budgets and direct payments | (IPSEA) Independent Provider of Special Education Advice

Working with a personal budget – SEND Local Offer (

You can contact the Stoke-on-Trent SENMAS team to discuss funding further:


Telephone : 01782 231863 - Monday to Friday 9:30 - 3:30