High needs funding

High needs funding is intended to provide the most appropriate support package for children and young people (from early years up to aged 25) with special educational needs and disabilities in a range of settings, taking account of parental and student choice.

The key principles for the funding of higher needs pupils are:

  • Funding for high needs provision is to be arranged on an equivalent basis across different types of providers, including maintained or academy schools.
  • This includes pupils and students with high needs in the school or academy, further education and alternative provision sectors.
  • A ‘place-plus’ approach to funding in specialist settings is being adopted.

How to apply for high needs funding

To make an application for high needs funding, please use the appropriate link below for your setting.   

We recommend that you read the instruction page carefully before you begin to complete the form.   

Example application forms, development profiles and one page profiles are available to download from this page for your reference.

Changes to high needs funding application forms

The first time you complete a new form you will be asked to create a personal account. You will then be able to view your saved and completed forms once logged in.

We are aware that some users are experiencing issues with saved forms and we are investigating these. If you experience any problems, please contact the high needs team highneedsfunding@childrenfirstnorthamptonshire.co.uk.

Make an early years (nursery or childminder) high needs application

Following the consultation last year we have been reviewing the process for additional funding for early years children with special educational needs and or a disability. Due to the current exceptional circumstances this project has been delayed. Newly approved applications (between March and August) will follow the existing arrangements until further notice. Further details and updates will be released in due course via the Early Years Bulletin and this web page.

Early years - apply

Make a schools (including reception) high needs application

Schools - apply

What happens next?

The High Needs Panel meets monthly during term-time. They will consider applications from education providers for high needs funding for children without a statement or education, health and care plan (EHC). Each application is discussed to determine whether the child meets high needs criteria in line with the SEN descriptors (see below).

There are 2 decisions types:

  • the child meets the criteria for high needs funding
  • the child does not meet the criteria for high needs funding

Decisions are notified to settings via email, within 10 working days from the panel date.

The decision notification confirms the funding period and the amount to be funded.

High needs panel meeting dates 2020 to 2021

​Panel date​Schools decision notification date


​10 July​24 July
​11 September​25 September
​06 November​20 November 
​11 December ​30 December
​22 January​05 February
​19 March​02 April

All panel decisions will be sent out via Egress secure email to the email address provided on the application form.

Completed applications can be submitted at any time and will be considered in date order, at the closest panel meeting date with capacity.

Please note that applications must be checked and prepared and that panel members require at least 5 working days to review applications prior to the panel meeting.

Applications submitted close to a panel date will therefore be submitted to the next panel.

Schools funding decisions will be notified within 10 working days of the panel date. Early years funding will be notified to settings as soon as possible, once the outcome is known.

For schools and early years applications, where funding is agreed, it will commence from the date automatically generated by the system upon submission of the application form. This date appears in the 'completed by' section at the end of the form.

High needs - more information

Where high needs funding is due to cease at the end of the academic year for pupil(s) remaining at the same setting, a simplified process is in place to consider a continuation of the funding.

This only applies where pupils are remaining within the same setting.

Continuation of funding process

A Continuation of Funding form has been introduced, to consider effectiveness and impact of funding, and how continued funding will further improve outcomes.

Where pupils funding is due to cease at the end of the academic year, the High Needs Business Support team will email settings via Egress Secure to provide the continuation application form for affected pupils, along with a copy of their original High Needs Funding application form/s. This exercise will be carried out by the end of May, to allow sufficient time for continuation applications to be completed and returned to ensure continuation of funding where agreed.

Forms will need to be completed by an appropriate professional (Head teacher/Class Teacher/SENCO). An up to date provision map extract for the child/young person should also be submitted at the same time.

Form/s and provision map extract/s should be emailed to the High Needs Business Support Team by way of reply to the Egress Secure email. Both the form and provision map should be added as attachments, in order to keep the information within the secure system.
Where continuation applications are received into the high needs funding email address highneedsfunding@northamptonshire.gov.uk on or before the first panel date of the new academic year, and panel agree that the child/young person still meets criteria, then funding will be continuous, i.e. any break in funding will be rectified.

Where continuation applications are received after the first panel date of the new academic year, should the pupil meet criteria, then funding will re-commence from the date the continuation application was received into highneedsfunding@northamptonshire.gov.uk.

Where funding review dates are at other points in the year, funding will cease at that date. Settings will need to request continuation application forms by email to highneedsfunding@northamptonshire.gov.uk. The form will be provided, along with a copy of the original High Needs Funding application form. Expectation is that continuation of funding applications will be completed and submitted, with provision map extract, prior to the funding end date, to ensure, where appropriate, the continuation of funding.

Funding levels will be reviewed where continuation of funding applications continue to meet the criteria for funding.
For any further queries please contact the High Needs team: highneedsfunding@northamptonshire.gov.uk or call on 01604 363636

What happens when pupils move to another setting?

Where pupils move to another setting within the same phase, funding will commence at the new setting without the need for re-application.

The original funding decision review date/end date will apply at the new setting and at that point a re-application to panel may be appropriate. In such cases the new setting will be required to make a full application to panel.

High Needs Panel funding decisions may state that a review of funding is required e.g. mid Primary Key Stage. In such cases funding usually ceases at the end of the academic year. This can mean that, for some schools with a number of pupils remaining in the same setting, funding will end for several pupils on the same date i.e. 31 August.

​The document below fulfils a Department for Education requirement for each local authority to explain the special educational needs provision it expects to be made from within a mainstream school's budget share. It clearly explains the provision for pupils from early years settings and schools and will form part of the local authority Local Offer.

The document should be used as required to inform good practice and support effective provision for pupils with special educational needs.

Institutions that provide education for pupils with high needs will receive base funding from their maintaining authority, or if they are not a maintained institution from the Education Funding Agency, while funding above base level (top up funding) will pass directly between the commissioner (funding authority) and the institution.

What will Northamptonshire providers be expected to contribute?
Northamptonshire education providers will be expected to contribute:


​Element 1 core education Funding (e.g. AWPU/National 16-19 funding formula) and
​Element 2 additional support funding

​Mainstream settings
Post 16 / Colleges
Element 1 and 2 combined where place funding occurs

​Specialist Settings (Special Schools, Special Academies, SEN units and resourced provision)

 Alternative provision settings




Top up funding

Where the cost of meeting the pupils’ high needs cannot be met from the contribution, the education provider will be able apply to the commissioning authority for ‘top up’ funding (Element 3).

The East Midlands regional approach is that the commissioning authority will fund top up at the level set by the providing authority for its’ pupils.

Once the level of top up has been agreed with the commissioning authority, payment will pass directly from the commissioner to the education provider.

Top up is to be paid ‘in or close to the real-time movement of the pupil’ i.e. paid monthly or termly. In order to reduce the administrative burden, the expectation is that the arrangement will involve ‘contracting in advance’ i.e. rather than the institution having to invoice the commissioner, the commissioning authority will make monthly or termly payments direct to the institution.

These arrangements will apply to most pupils from other authorities. However, due to the complexities of the recoupment legislation, there is an exception. For a looked after child with a statement of special educational needs or who attends a special school where three local authorities are involved, recoupment will still be mandatory. For example; funding is from authority A, pupil lives in authority B, pupil placed by authority B in a school in authority C. In this case authority B would pay the top up to the school and then recoup from authority A.

Early years settings

Early years settings (in receipt of Early Years Single Funding Formula) may have high needs children on roll who are funded by another authority. In which case, the setting can apply to the commissioning authority for top up, taking into account its’ early years notional SEN funding.

If you have any difficulty in identifying the appropriate officer from another authority who is able to agree the arrangements for top up funding for a pupil, or have any other queries or concerns regarding funding of high needs pupils from other authorities please contact the high needs team.

Contact the high needs funding team