How support in schools is funded
Councils receive money from the government to give to schools.
One element of this is an amount of money paid for every single pupil on the school’s roll.
A second element is for the school to meet children’s special educational needs from within their school’s budget. Money given to each school to support special educational needs is called the ‘school’s notional SEN budget’. A mainstream school has up to £6,000 from its SEN budget to spend on each child who needs additional help to make progress. In a Pupil Referral Unit (a specialist setting for children/young people without a school place) that figure is £8,000 and in a special school it is £10,000.
The council distributes the notional SEN budget to schools but each school decides how to spend this money.
Most children's needs can be met from these elements of funding.
Sometimes a child's needs are more complex or require a more intensive level of specialist help than can be met from the resources available to the school or college. In these cases you and your child's school or college can ask for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment which could lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). If your child has an EHCP, the council provides additional funding from what is called the 'High Needs Block'.
The ‘High Needs Block’ is the third element of SEN funding. Money given to the school from the High Needs Block is called ‘top up funding’. Top up funding follows the child, so if the child moves school, the top up funding goes with them.
Schools sometimes have access to other funding for children and young people with additional needs, such as the Pupil Premium.