Funding for children with SEND

Funding for Islington Mainstream Schools

  • Funding for all schools includes money that they should use to support children with additional needs

Funding for SEND Pupils

Funding for children and young people comes under three main headings (or 'elements')

Element 1: Basic, per pupil funding

An amount of money for each child in the school (approximately £4000 per child), used to provide education and support for all children, including those with SEND.

Element 2: Additional Support funding
  • Every school receives an additional amount of money to enable them to make special provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
  • Schools must use this funding to pay for up to £6,000 of special educational provision to meet a child's SEND, with the assumption that most children with SEND will require support that costs to less than £6,000 to provide
  • Islington’s funding arrangements have three key aims:
    • To make resources available to those children who need them as early as possible
    • To enable schools to make decisions about how funds are used for SEND
    • To enable every school to have stability in planning provision for SEND year on year, and for that planning to be transparent to parents and children.
  • For this reason, in Islington, we have allocated a higher amount for Element 2 than is recommended nationally to match our 'predicted profile' of local need.  This is so that schools can provide early help, have more stability of funding and meet more needs from resources ‘normally available’ without the need to move to ‘top up’ funding. 
Element 3: Top-Up Funding
  • While the needs of almost all mainstream children can be met directly through the allocated school budget (including Elements 1 and 2 above), there will always be a small number of children whose needs are so complex or unusual that money to support them can only be allocated on an individual basis. In most cases, the Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs of these children will have been formally assessed and they will have an EHC Plan.
How is the funding calculated

Notional SEN Budgets

  • LAs must, through their Schools Forum, identify the formula by which schools receive funding to provide support for pupils with SEN. This is called a 'Notional SEN Budget'. It is called 'notional' because no-one tells schools exactly how they should spend this money. They must spend it in the way they think is best to meet their duty to identify, assess and make special educational provision for all children with SEND;
  • The LA also has a duty to set out what schools are expected to provide from their delegated budget. You can find more information about this here.
  • It is from the notional budget that mainstream schools must meet the needs of children with lower level need as well as contribute the first £6,000 of the costs of provision for pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans.
  • From this, schools must provide quality first teaching and learning for all children, including those with high needs, to enable them to access the school’s teaching and learning offer.
  • In Islington, as well as additional allocations for named pupils with SEN, the Schools Forum have also delegated / devolved further funds from the High Needs Block to give local schools maximum flexibility over the deployment of resources to meet wide range of needs.

Element 3 - Top-up Funding Matrix

To make sure the way funding is allocated to children and young people with Top-Up funding is clear and fair, we have developed a local Top-Up ‘Funding Matrix’. The Matrix can be used to support decision making for the allocation of additional education funding for SEND, regardless of the setting, using the four broad categories from the SEND Code of Practice, which we have further subdivided into domains of need. Each domain is then broken down into levels of severity (0 = no significant need, 4 = highest level of need). The four main categories are are also weighted to ensure relative comparability. This way, parents and schools can be sure that children and young people in Islington with similar levels of need will receive the same level of funding:
In use, the child’s needs are plotted against the Matrix and the combined scores converted into a Top-up ‘tariff’.

Top-up Tariff (2021-2022)



Amount in addition to £6,000K already delegated (£)

Local Offer





















Weighting and allocations have been calculated by considering models from seven other Local Authorities (alongside our own current costing approach).

In application, needs in each area are considered for ‘best fit’ based on all of the available advice. The model can be used for children and young people with or without a statutory plan. It can also be used to support an EHC assessment.

We recognise that no tool can ever be absolutely precise, and where the Matrix doesn’t seem to reflect individual circumstances or needs, a more detailed discussion may be needed.

Why is the above system effective?
  • It makes sure children get the funding they need at the right time and in the right place
  • It reduces the amount of paperwork required to get funds to where they can be used most effectively to help children
  • It helps schools to have control over the planning and use of allocated resources
  • It is a fair system that ensures all schools are working within the same framework
  • It helps make best use of specialist support services
  • As resources are readily available to schools through the funding scheme, more children will have their needs met without the need for  top-up funding.

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