Hackney's SEN funding for schools

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How is extra support in schools paid for? 

Different types of education setting receive different levels of funding but funding is always matched to the needs of the child or young person requiring support. 

All schools are expected to provide an inclusive education and school experience for all students.

Each school MUST explain this to parents in their School SEN information report.

Maintained schools, free schools and academies all receive SEND funding in the same way. This is because their responsibilities to pupils with SEND are the same.

Page last modified 08/11/2021

Element 1 funding

Element 1 funding is also known as base funding. All children in maintained schools regardless of their SEND status are base funded through Element 1.

This funding pays for the building and equipment that all children and young people would need to access during their education. 

Element 2 funding

Element 2 funding is always in addition to Element 1 funding. 

Element 2 funding is also known to parents as SEN Support. This is a combination of two levels of funded support that were known as School Action and School Action Plus before the SEND Reforms.

This funding helps students that require short term interventions and a percentage of students who require extra support for longer periods of time or need ongoing support at a lower level.

SEN support comes from funding that already exists within the schools delegated funding or budget share.

SEN Support is an amount of funding that can extend to £ 6000.
Schools are not told exactly how to spend this funding. The full amount of £6000 is not the appropriate amount for every student who requires some additional support. Most students will have their needs met without requiring the full funding of this level.

Access to existing internal funding enables schools to be flexible and take quick action to put support in place for students that need extra support or help with more commonly occurring needs.

Schools or settings should be able to show how they have used Element 2 funding up to the full amount to supported a pupil before applying for additional high needs funding. Provision maps can be used to demonstrate this. There may be some exceptions for example if there has been a significant change in a pupil's circumstances.

High needs funding is applied for through an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment which may result in an EHC Plan. Evidence of the purposeful and meaningful actions as school has taken using their SEN Support can be used to make the case for an assessment of need.

Element 3 funding

Element 3 funding is always in addition to full Element 2 funding and Element 1 funding. 

Element three funding is also known as high needs or top up funding.

Schools and settings can get advice on applying for high needs funding through Hackney's SEND Business Support Team. 

Schools and parents can apply for an EHC Needs Assessment on behalf of the pupil, child or young person. Request forms for EHC Needs Assessments are available in the Document's Library.

Element 3 funding is always in addition to the full amount of Element 2 funding which continues to come from the schools delegated budget for providing enhanced support for the child or young person.

This is funding for children and young people with additional needs who have been assessed and have met the threshold for an Education, Health and Care plan or EHC Plan.

Element 3 funding supports a small percentage of students with additional needs. Between 2 – 3% of children and young people aged 0-25 in Hackney receive Element 3 funding.

Within Element 3 funding for pupils in mainstream schools and academies there are 5 different funding allocations or levels. These are individually applied to students to meet their identified needs.

Element 3 or High Needs Top up Funding for mainstream schools

Level 1 

Level     2 

Level  3 

Level    4    

 Level     5  


From April 2018 - 2022




£ 6,077


£ 6,500


£ 11,432


£ 15,818

Funding for Hackney's Special School places

Students who because of their support needs do not go to mainstream schools and attend special maintained schools in Hackney are funded at different levels according to their identified needs.

Funding for Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Provision

Funding for students with SEND who attend Pupil Referral Units (PRU’s) and Alternative Provision (AP). 

PRU’s and AP offer a different education route for young people who are not able to access, mainstream education or who experience difficulties in a mainstream setting.

This option allow students to continue to access an appropriate and broad curriculum that meets their needs and offers them a good level of progression.

Some children and young people who have found making the transfer from primary to secondary provision very difficult may benefit from this option.

The cost of Alternative Provision placements vary according to the provider. Typically placements will involve young people attending an external provider for some or all of their education. Placement may be funded for a short period of time through Element 2 funding.

If the placement is for a longer period it may be necessary to apply for an EHC Needs Assessment which may identify the student is in need of an EHC Plan.

AP and PRU placements are funded through specific arrangements with providers and according to identified need on a case by case basis.

Other funding arrangements for pupils with SEND

There are some students with SEND who attend out of borough maintained schools. These placements are funded at the levels set by the local authority in boroughs where the school exists.

Some students attend non-maintained or independent schools. These are funded through separate arrangements with the providers and according to identified need on a case by case basis. These placements are only agreed where there is clear evidence that needs cannot be met from locally available provision.

Decisions about these placements are agreed by the Complex Needs Panel and are signed off by a senior manager from Hackney Education's SEND services.

Joint Funding Arrangements

For a few pupils with SEND funding responsibility is shared between education, health and children’s social care services. These arrangements depend on the individual needs of the child or young person.


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Page last modified: 28/07/2023