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Funding for children with SEND

Funding for Islington Mainstream Schools

  • Funding for all schools includes money that they should use to support those with additional needs
  • Funding is distributed by a formula agreed by each Council's Schools Formula
  • From 2019-20, all schools in England will be funded by a national formula.

Funding for SEND Pupils

Funding for children and young poeple 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 pupils in the school including those with SEND.

Element 2: Additional Support funding

  • Every school receives an additional amount of money to enable them to provide special education for children and young people with SEND.
  • Schools must use this funding to pay for up to £6,000 worth 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
  • Our local funding scheme has 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 statutory intervention.

Element 3: Top-Up funding

  • Whilst the needs of almost all mainstream children can be met directly through the allocated school budget, 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 needs of these children will have been formally assessed and they will have an EHC Plan.
  • It is also open to a school to consider making a request for exceptional needs funding if they can evidence exceptional circumstances that could not be predicted. How much they should receive and for how long will be decided by an Exceptional Needs Panel of Head Teachers, supported by professionals with relevant experience.

What is ‘predictable’ need and what is ‘exceptional’ need?

  • A predicted profile takes account of the ‘typical’ range of needs that every school in Islington can expect to provide for based on local and national knowledge, experience and data over time. So for example, based on our current profile of need we can expect that every two form entry school is likely to have at least one child per year who has a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition.

Exceptional Needs Panel

  • The purpose of the Exceptional Needs Panel is to provide a clear and equitable framework and process to consider requests for provision that fall outside of currently commissioned / delegated services and arrangements (‘predicted profile’ and Local Offer).
  • In making a case for special consideration to the Exceptional Needs Panel, schools will need to demonstrate that:
    • The child is significantly different to the general population of young people with the condition in question; and
    •  The child is likely to gain significantly more benefit from the intervention than might be normally expected for young people with those needs, or
    • There are unique institutional factors, not related to an individual student.
  • The fact that support is likely to be efficacious will not, in itself, be a basis for exceptionality.
  • The Exceptional Needs Panel will include and be chaired by Headteacher representatives. It will establish a consistent approach in considering cases equitably across the needs of all young people.

How is the funding calculated

Notional SEN Budgets

  • LAs must, through the 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 their money. They can spend it in the way they think is best. But schools have a duty to identify, assess and make special educational provision for all children with SEN; and the LA has a duty to set out what schools are expected to provide from their delegated budget
  • The School Funding Reform arrangements require that the notional SEN budget comes from the Schools Block, made up of funding from the basic per-pupil entitlement, deprivation and prior attainment factors. It is from this notional budget that mainstream schools are expected to: ◦meet the needs of pupils with low cost, high incidence SEN; and contribute, up to at least the first £6,000 of the costs of provision for pupils with high needs (not all pupils with SEN require this amount).
  • From this, schools must provide a standard offer of teaching and learning for all pupils, including those with ‘predictable’ 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 schools maximum flexibility over the deployment of resources to meet a 'predictable' range of needs

Top-up Funding Matrix

To ensure transparency and fairness, 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 to give eleven 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 then weighted as follows:

  • Sensory and/or Physical – x 4
  • Communication and Interaction – x 2
  • Emotional, Social and Behavioural Development – x 4
  • Cognition and Learning – x 4

In use, the young person’s needs are plotted against the Matrix and the combined scores converted into a Top-up ‘tariff’. (NB: For the Cognition and Learning area, the two sub-categories are ‘capped’ at a maximum of 16 points.)

Top-up Tariff (2016-17)



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

Local Offer





















The weighting and tariffs have been calculated by considering models from seven other LAs (alongside our own current costing approach), and using a rate of £14.95 per hour.

In application, needs in each area are considered for ‘best fit’ based on 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 review and monitoring, and to inform decision making regarding requests for statutory assessment.

We recognise that no tool can ever be absolutely precise, and in the  (hopefully rare) instances 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 schools get the funding they need at the right time and can target to the right children
  • It reduces the amount of paperwork required to get funds to where they can be used effectively to help children
  • It helps schools to have control over the planning and use of their resources
  • It is a fair system that ensures all schools are working within the same guidelines
  • It will help make better 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 exceptional funding and/or an EHCP
  • It will reduce the need for statutory intervention

Some Questions to consider when assessing predictability / exceptionality

  • How exceptional are this child’s needs for an Islington school?
  • Does the school expect to get a child with this level of need?
    • Every year?
    • Once every few years?
    • Rarely, if ever?
  • Why is the schools normal?SEND Support offer unlikely to meet the child’s needs?
  • What support would be needed, and for how long, and what are the expected outcomes?
  • Are there any particular aspects of the current school situation that make it easier / more difficult to meet this child’s needs?