The Pounds and Pence of SEN Funding: Where Does It All Go?

by | Nov 2, 2023

Let us delve into the fascinating world of Special Educational Needs (SEN) funding in the UK. Get ready to uncover how these precious pounds and pence are allocated, the different categories they cover, and maybe even share a chuckle or two along the way. Let’s navigate the maze of SEN funding together!

The SEN Funding Jigsaw Puzzle

Hello to anyone who’s ever wondered about the magical world of Special Educational Needs (SEN) funding! Today, we’re about to embark on a journey through the fascinating labyrinth of pounds and pence, where every coin has a purpose, and every note has a destination.

SEN funding in the UK is like a jigsaw puzzle – it’s intricate, multifaceted, and occasionally, it might leave you scratching your head. But worry not, by the time we’re done here, you’ll have a clearer picture of where those precious resources go.

Breaking Down the Budget

First things first, let’s break down the SEN funding budget. In the UK, this budget is divided into different categories, each with its specific focus. These categories help ensure that children with various special educational needs receive the support they need. So, grab your magnifying glass, and let’s take a closer look:

High Needs Funding

Ah, the “High Needs” category – it sounds so important, doesn’t it? Well, it is! This part of the Local Authority budget is dedicated to supporting children and young people with severe and complex needs. Think of it as the backbone of SEN funding, holding everything together.

High Needs Funding supports students who require additional resources, whether it’s one-on-one support from teaching assistants, specialised equipment, or modifications to the curriculum. It’s like the superhero of the SEN funding world, swooping in to save the day for those who need it most.  Not all local authorities allocate money from this pot beyond that for students with an EHCP.  It’s a strange relationship.  Those local authorities that do provide without an EHCP have lower rates of EHCPs but the funding associated with the child is not legally protected in the same way.

Not-So-High Needs Funding

Okay, we made up that name, but there’s more to SEN funding than just the “high needs” category. There’s also funding for students who don’t require quite as much support. It is the notional budget.  This portion is provided to mainstream schools to help them make reasonable adjustments for children with less complex needs. It’s like having a toolkit of resources to ensure that every student can thrive in a mainstream setting.

The Educational Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Pot

Now, here’s a category that deserves a special mention – the EHCP pot. An EHCP is like a treasure map, outlining a student’s unique needs and the support they require. SENCOs, you’re probably well-acquainted with these! Any funding allocated here is specifically for students with EHCPs, ensuring they receive the tailored support they need to achieve their goals.  It comes from the High Needs budget at the local authority and it is the local authorities responsibility to ensure section F is fully funded.

Early Years SEN Funding

Let’s not forget our littlest learners! Early Years SEN Funding is all about supporting children aged 2-5 with special educational needs. It’s like building a solid foundation for their educational journey, ensuring they start school on the right foot.  It is different to the EHCP funding as most learners at this age won’t have an issued EHCP.

SEND Transport Costs

Last but not least, there’s funding to cover the costs of transporting students with SEN to and from school. This ensures that students can access the right educational setting, no matter where they live.  Interestingly, this is a difficult pot to access.  If there is a school nearer to the child that is able to meet their needs, but the parents opt to send them further away then they cannot claim from the SEND Transport pot.


So, there you have it – a glimpse into the world of SEN funding in the UK. It’s a complex web of pounds and pence, but it’s essential for ensuring that every child, regardless of their needs, has the opportunity to succeed.

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