Top Up High Needs Funding (HNF)
If a school needs more than £6,000 for a child's SEN provision, they will receive Top Up High Needs Funding (HNF). This is a system of funding for mainstream schools and early years settings in Hertfordshire. It is additional funding allocated to the school by the local authority, on top of the core funding a school receives, and the additional support funding. It is provided to schools to ensure they include and provide support for children and young people with significant needs in mainstream schools and settings - in Hertfordshire, the amount of HNF a school receives is worked out according to a child or young person's EHCP.
The level of need described in your child or young person's EHCP is used to help identify the amount of top-up funding required, in order for the school or early years setting to be able to deliver the specified provision in the EHCP. A school will not receive additional top-up funding for all of its children with an EHCP. For example, if the level in your child's EHCP is 'universal' or 'universal plus', the school will be expected to cover the costs of support from their existing budget. The idea is that the highest levels of top-up funding are provided to schools to support children with the highest levels of needs. You can read more about levels of need and associated funding in the Handbook.
Additional funding for pupils awaiting a special school place
Additional funding is available for mainstream schools who are supporting pupils who have had a specialist place agreed at provision panel, but where a place or provision is not currently available. To be eligible for this funding:
- the pupil must have a special school agreed at a provision panel, with the start date unknown at the beginning of the term following the panel
- the pupil must be of statutory school age (pupils who are in years 6 or 11 when the place is agreed are not eligible)
- the level in the pupil's EHCP must be 'targeted plus' or above
- the pupil must not attend, or be dual-registered at an ESC/base or unit
- the pupil must be attending the school full time, or working towards full time attendance
For those eligible, £2,000 termly will be made available to the pupil’s mainstream school until the term they leave (unless they are in the final term of year 6 or 11 and moving to a different school or college).
Local High Needs Funding (LHNF)
We have a local version of Top Up High Needs Funding (HNF) in place, known as Local High Needs Funding (LHNF), that meets the emerging needs of children and young people and those with complex needs who do not have an EHCP. It is managed locally within the nine different DSPL areas and the decisions regarding the allocation of LHNF will be made by a panel managed by the DSPL manager. Alongside the DSPL manager, this panel is made up of local school staff representing different phases of education, a member of staff from the Specialist Advisory Service, an Educational Psychologist and representatives from the Education Support Centre and the Special School Outreach. Decisions are made according a strict set of criteria. If the panel decides that the child is not eligible for LHNF, they will support the school in advising how best the school can meet the child's needs.
Additional Targeted Funding (ATF)
Some mainstream schools have higher than expected numbers of children with Educational Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Each year these schools get additional targeted funding from the local authority to help them meet the cost of the provision for the children in their school with EHCPs so that their SEN budget can meet the needs of all children in the school. This funding is in addition to the individual HNF.
The threshold for receiving ATF is reviewed every year. It is based on the number of children on roll in a school, and the number of children in the school with an EHCP. For example, if a school has 70 pupils, the threshold for receiving ATF might be 2 pupils with an EHCP. This means that the school will be expected to cover the first £6,000 of SEN funding for 2 pupils, but for every additional pupil over this threshold, the school will receive an additional £5,000 to meet the cost of SEN provision. The ATF will form part of the school's overall SEN budget, and is not allocated to individual children.
Colleges and Further Education
SEN funding for colleges and further education settings works in a slightly different way. Colleges receive a certain amount of money per pupil, for young people aged 16-19 - according to the national funding formula. They will also receive an additional £6,000 from the local authority for young people with identified SEND (in most cases this will be young people with an EHCP).
Nurseries and Early Years Settings
Nurseries and Early Years Settings get money according to the number of children they have. They can also apply for other funding to help support the emerging needs of the children at their setting - such as Early Years Inclusion Funding, or the Disability Access Fund. For young children with an EHCP, settings will also receive Top Up High Needs Funding. For those without an EHCP and with emerging needs, the setting may be eligible for Local High Needs Funding (see above for more information).