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How Top-Up Funding is calculated (Funding Matrix)

To ensure transparency and fairness, we have developed a local Top-Up ‘Funding Matrix’ using the four broad categories of need identified within the SEND Code of Practice. We have further subdivided these areas 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 areas of need are weighted as follows:

  • Sensory and/or Physical – x 4
  • Communication and Interaction – x 2
  • Social Emotional and Mental Health – x 4
  • Cognition and Learning – x 4 (but capped at 16 point)

The Matrix is used to support local decision making for the allocation of Top-up funding for children with SEND, and is a recognised model of good practice, adopted by other LAs.

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). The Top-up funding is in addition to the £6000 already allocated to teh school through the notional SEND budget.

Top-up Tariff (2017-18)


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




Up to £1,190


Up to £3,100


Up to £5,300


Up to £8,400


Up to £11,120


Up to £16,260

The weighting and tariffs have been calculated by considering models from a number of other LAs (alongside our own previous costing approach), and using a unit rate for intervention 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.

No tool can ever be absolutely precise, and in the rare instances where the Matrix do not reflect individual circumstances or needs, a more personalised consideration may be necessary.