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An In-Depth Look at Special Educational Needs Funding in UK Schools

by | Nov 1, 2023

In this blog post, we will provide you with an overview of SEN funding. Our aim is to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the funding landscape effectively.

Understanding SEN Funding:

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s ensure we have a common understanding of SEN funding. This type of funding is dedicated to providing financial support to schools for meeting the unique needs of students with Special Educational Needs. These needs can encompass a wide range of learning disabilities, sensory impairments, or other challenges that affect a child’s learning.

The SEN Funding Streams:

SEN funding consists of several key components:

– Notional SEN Budget: Each school in the UK receives a notional SEN budget, which is a designated portion of the school’s overall budget intended to support students with SEN.

– High Needs Funding: This is the primary source of funding for students with more severe or complex SEN requirements. It plays a vital role in ensuring these students receive the necessary support.

– Disability Access Fund: Designed for early years providers, this fund supports children with disabilities, ensuring they have equitable access to essential resources and assistance.

– SEN Transport: For students who require transportation due to their SEN, funding is available to ensure safe and accessible travel to and from school.

The SEN Code of Practice:

The SEN Code of Practice serves as the legal translation that guides schools in supporting students with SEN (for the actual law refer to the Children and Families Act.). Think of it as your compass through the complexities of SEN funding. Becoming well-versed in this document is essential, as it provides clarity on responsibilities and expectations.

The EHCP (Education, Health, and Care Plan):

An integral part of SEN funding is the Education, Health, and Care Plan, or EHCP. This document outlines a child’s specific needs and the support required to address them. Once identified, the local authority assesses the child’s needs and, if appropriate, issues an EHCP. Importantly, EHCPs define the support required for the child (in section F) and schools should ensure that their Local authority provides ALL the additional funding to meet this. Understanding EHCPs is vital for SENCOs.

The Role of the SENCO:

As SENCOs, you are the linchpin of SEN support within your school. Your expertise in navigating the intricacies of SEN funding is invaluable. Collaborate closely with your school’s leadership team and colleagues to ensure that SEN funding is optimally utilised for the benefit of all students.


In conclusion, SEN funding is a complex but essential component of ensuring that every student receives the support they need to thrive in an educational setting. Armed with knowledge, and a collaborative spirit, you are well-equipped to make a significant impact on the lives of students with special educational needs.

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