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

For children and young people not subject to an Education Heath & Care Plan (EHCP)

To make an application for high needs funding:

Schools - please use the 'Schools-apply' link below. High Needs teams North/West are responsible for schools high needs panel arrangements.

Early years settings - please use the 'Early years high needs funding' links below for North/West Northamptonshire Council as appropriate. The Early Years team are responsible for Early Years high needs panel funding arrangements.

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

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.

If you experience any problems accessing forms, for schools applications, please contact the high needs team:



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

This form been replaced by two forms owned by North Northamptonshire Council and West Northamptonshire Council.

North Northamptonshire Council covers the following areas:

  • Kettering
  • Corby
  • East Northants
  • Wellingborough

Early years high needs - North Northamptonshire Council

West Northamptonshire Council covers the following areas:

  • Daventry
  • Northampton
  • South Northants

Early years high needs - West Northamptonshire Council

Schools high needs application

Make a schools (including reception) high needs application

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

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 schools via email, within 10 working days from the panel date.

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

West Northamptonshire Council high needs panel meeting dates 2021 to 2022

​Panel dates​Schools decisions notification date
​22 January 2022​4 February 2022
​25 February 2022​11 March 2022
​25 March 2022​8 April 2022
​29 April 2022​13 May 2022
​27 May 2022​10 June 2022
​24 June 2022​8 July 2022

North Northamptonshire Council high needs panel is currently suspended. Updates on arrangements will be given as soon as they are available.

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.

For schools, 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.

Further guidance

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.