SEN funding in schools

The local authority receives money from central government each year to fund schools. This is called the Dedicated Schools Grant or DSG.

The DSG is split into three parts or ‘blocks’: Early Years Block, Schools Block and High Needs Block.

Part of the Schools Block and all of the High Needs Block is set aside to pay for support and provision for learners with SEN.

School SEN funding

The SEN money in the Schools Block goes directly to schools to spend.

This year the total budget for this is approximately £20m.

The amount each school gets is calculated using a formula.

Each year the school gets a ‘memo’ which sets out how much SEN money they will get. Find out how much money your child’s school gets for SEN by visiting

Schools use their SEN funding to pay for things like resources, support staff and training for staff.

You can find out more about how your child’s school use their SEN money by reading their SEN Information Report.  Search for individual school’s SEN information reports.

All schools are allocated a nominal £4,000 for each child’s basic education. Schools are expected to provide up to a notional £6,000 for each child with SEN to meet their additional needs.

If a child’s support costs more than this, the school should apply to their cluster for additional funding.

If you feel your child is not getting the right support in school, you should as to speak to the SEN Coordinator (SENCo).  They should be able to tell you how the school SEN funding is being used to support your child.

Cluster SEN funding

The High Needs Block includes a budget which goes to each SEN Cluster.

This year the budget is approximately £9m. This money is distributed to clusters using a formula.  A further fund of just under £1 million is held by the local authority to distribute to clusters in response to capacity and/or SEN development projects.

Each cluster gets a ’memo’ to tell them how much SEN money they will get. Find out how much money your child’s school cluster gets by visiting:

The cluster decides how the money should be spent to support children with high level needs.

Schools can apply to the cluster for additional funding if they have children with high level needs which cannot be met just from the school’s own SEN funding.

In many cases, the cluster fund is allocated according to need. For example, direct ‘top-up’ payments to schools to meet high needs.

Sometimes a cluster sets up support which is used by more than one school in the cluster; for example, training, resources, shared assessment tools and/or specialist support services such as a shared speech and language therapist or specialist teacher.

Local Authority SEN funding

The rest of the High Needs Block is used by the local authority to fund other types of SEN support and provision.

The total funding in the High Needs block is approximately £65m.

The money is spent on many different types of support.  This includes state funded special schools, specialist resource bases (SRBs), places in alternative provision and independent schools, central services such as Access Through Technology, speech and language therapy, the Virtual School for sensory support, SEN support in Early Years and High Needs Funding (HNF) in post-16 education.

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