Schools get money for each pupil, based on pupil numbers. This is called the Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU). Some of this money is for general SEN provision. This might, for example, include the cost of providing the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo).

Additional funding streams for special educational needs are as follows:

Exceptional Needs Funding

This is money given to schools and childcare providers to help them support children with the most complex and exceptional needs.

Schools and childcare providers have to apply for the exceptional needs funding. Speak to your childcare provider or school SENCo to discuss getting the funding to help your child's day to day life while in education.

How it works

There are groups of teachers and SEN professionals who meet to decide if the child's needs meet the criteria – this is called an Exceptional Needs Panel.

  • The panel meets to decide who gets the funding.
  • Payments are made termly.
  • Funding stops when the child leaves education.

Exceptional Needs information and guidance for schools

Changes are being made to Exceptional Needs Funding (ENF) later this year.


Additional support funding

Schools have an additional amount of funding for SEN, based on the number of children who have received free school meals and those who were not doing as well as others in English and Maths.  

Schools may spend more or less than this figure on SEN – the way schools spend will differ from setting to setting, based on the specific needs of their pupils and the way that setting is organised.

Government  guidance is that schools should provide up to £6,000 worth of SEND provision for a pupil with SEN. This does not mean that the school will spend £6,000 on every child with SEN.  Some children will need less help – and some children may need more.  Sometimes schools use funds to help groups of children.

Top up funding

If a school needs more than £6,000 to provide a pupil’s SEN provision then, depending on the needs of the pupil, a top up from the Local Authority’s ‘High Needs Block’ may be allocated.

Although some pupils  have an Educational, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, this is not necessary for a school to receive the top up funding.

Special schools including Academies

Special schools are provided with base funding of £10,000 for each planned place, depending on the predicted admission numbers for the next year.  Most special schools will also receive additional top up funding.  The amounts are different for different schools. 

For more information about high needs top up funding in Hertfordshire mainstream schools, see our arrangements for Exceptional Needs Funding (ENF) above.

Page was last published on: 21/04/2020 15:55:06