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SEND support funding

 “Schools must use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEND gets the support they need.” SEND Code of Practice 2015.

Schools have three sources of funding referred to as ‘Elements’.

Elements 1 and 2 (Schools Block), is funding given directly (delegated funding) to schools to provide extra help for pupils with SEND.  It is referred to as Notional SEND Budget and should provide the resource and support required to meet the needs of most pupils with SEND attending the school.

Element 3, (High Needs Block) provides additional funding, known as Top Up funding for individual pupils where the provision required to meet needs is over and above what schools can be expected to make from their delegated funding.

Further details about each element are outlined below.

School also receive funding from the  Pupil Premium Grant. 

 Funding for SEND in Croydon Primary and Secondary Schools

 What it is?

 What does it fund?

 Element 1 – The Core Budget


  • The total value of the core budget allocated to school varies.
  • The amount each school receives is based on the number and age of pupils attending; this is known as ‘per pupil entitlement.’
  • The value of funding for each pupil is around £4,000, usually more for secondary aged pupils.


  • It covers the general running costs of the school and teaching for all pupils.
  • It pays for maintaining the school building, all staffing costs, resources and equipment.
  • It covers the cost of the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) and training to support inclusive practice in daily teaching.

 Element 2 – Notional SEND Budget


  • This budget provides funding to all schools to offer extra support and help for pupils with additional needs including those with SEND.
  • It is allocated to schools annually.
  • The value of funding each school receives varies.
  • A joint panel of school headteachers and Local Authority officers use a national formula with key indicators to inform the allocation of funding to each school.
  • The amount of funding each school receives is not determined by the number of pupils recorded as requiring SEND Support or who have EHC Plans.


  • Each school can decide how they spend this funding but it should provide appropriate support and inclusion for all their pupils with SEND.
  • It should fund a range of extra support, interventions and resources above that which is available for all pupils (additional to and different from).
  • This extra support should cover all four broad areas of needs set out in the SEND Code of Practice and reflect   expectations in the Croydon guidance, ‘ordinarily available descriptors’ which sets out the range and type of provision all schools should typically offer.
  • The spend for each pupil with SEND will vary to reflect his/her needs and informed by the school’s graduated approach to assessing planning, meeting and reviewing needs.

  • The government’s expectation is that funding delegated directly to schools should provide up to £6000 worth of provision across a year for those pupils with the greatest need. 

(This is not necessarily £6000 worth of individual teaching assistant support.)




 Element 3: High Needs Block (Top of Funding)

  • The High Needs Block is funding that the government gives to Croydon Local Authority for CYP with SEND who require education provision that is more than can be provided by school’s own resources and funding from elements 1 and 2.
  • In Croydon the usual process for accessing this ‘Top Up Funding’ is through an EHC Plan.
  • Top up funding in an EHC Plan will follow the child if they move to a different school.
  • The amount of top-up might increase or decrease, for example if a child’s needs change, or they go to a different type of school or setting.

Croydon’s High Needs Block also funds:

  • Special schools and enhanced learning provision
  • Specialist nursery places
  • Croydon Sensory Support Service for pupil with hearing and/or visual impairment


  • Top Up Funding may be allocated following an EHC needs assessment.
  • The assessment will demonstrate the nature and level of a child or young person’s special educational needs and the actions already put in place by schools to help them make progress. This will include engagement with specialist services. It will show the additional provision that is required above what is available at School SEND Support.
  • Schools have to pay the first £10,000 costs of any provision set out in the EHC Plan (£4,000 from the core budget for each child and £6,000 from the notional SEND budget).

Other sources of funding: Pupil Premium Grant (PPG).

Any school where children are eligible for free school meals will receive ‘pupil premium’ money to spend on improving the rate of progress those children. This is because there is a gap in educational attainment between the group of children receiving free school meals and the majority of children who do not.

Across the country, there is a significant overlap between children eligible for free school meals and having special educational needs.
Schools can choose how to spend their pupil premium money, as they are best placed to identify what would be of most benefit to the children who are eligible. For those children who are eligible for PPG and have SEND, this additional funding might be used to fund wider support wider SEND interventions and resources.

Looked After Children are also eligible for pupil premium funding. Details of how this extra money is used to help each child is detailed in their Personal Education Plans (PEP).

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