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High needs funding for schools

The High Needs Funding referred to on this page only applies for pupils with severe and complex Special Educational Needs in mainstream schools and does not apply to pupils with SEN in Specialist Resource Provision, Special Schools or Pupil Referral Units.

‘Schools are not expected to meet the full cost of more expensive special educational provision from their core funding. The local authority should provide additional top up funding where the cost of the SEN provision required to meet the needs of an individual pupil exceeds the nationally prescribed threshold (£6,000).’ (SEN Code of Practice 6.99)

From 8 January 2018 the following criteria, evidence requirements and changes to the process have been implemented.

Criteria for High Needs Funding Applications (DOCX, 23.0 KB)
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  • The pupil will have an EHCP or be SEN Support with severe and complex needs.
  • The pupil will be on the school roll and in full time attendance (except in exceptional cases).
  • If the pupil doesn’t have an EHCP the school will have identified the pupil’s SEN needs with the support of external professionals.
  • The school will have fully utilised their normally available resources (DOCX, 40.1 KB) to address the needs of the pupil.
  • The pupil’s provision to meet their SEN Outcomes will be in line with the Personalised or Individualised Learning descriptors in the KCC Mainstream Core Standards. (see above link for draft updated C&I, C&L and SEMH standards)
  • If the pupil doesn’t have an EHCP the school will have sought advice and further guidance from the district offer of support through LIFT as part of the ‘assess, plan, do and review’ cycle.
  • Recommendations from professionals will have been implemented and evaluated to evidence an increasingly personalised provision.
  • Training relevant to the need type of the pupil will have been undertaken by the school and suitably implemented within the last two years.

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To ensure the child meets the criteria above, schools will be expected to provide the following pre-existing evidence for all applications (new and renewals);
  • Previous two reviewed personalised or provision plans (SEN CoP recommends a minimum of three per year) that show the implementation of recommendations from professionals and the ‘assess, plan, do and review’ cycle. (For new pupils to the school; a copy of the transition plan and the last reviewed provision plan from the previous educational provider).
  • School provision map. (Only required once per academic year if more than one application or reapplication is made).
  • Present provision plan. (For new applications schools may wish to add the costings to the provision plan or use the example plan (DOCX, 19.1 KB) to check that the provision exceeds the £6,000 threshold.)
  • Risk assessment (if appropriate).

For new applications where the child doesn’t have an EHCP, schools will also be expected to provide the following evidence;

If the child has an EHCP this information would not be required.

For reapplications where the school feels there have been significant changes to the needs of the child since the last HNF application, they may wish to provide additional evidence as this may affect the funding level provided.

A criteria and evidence checklist (DOCX, 18.5 KB) is available to assist schools.

Application Costings
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Schools should try to only submit personalised or provision plans that exceed the £6,000 threshold and that includes staffing which reflects the criteria and Best Use of TAs document

If the school chooses to submit a costed personalised/ provision plan, the local authority will not be able to guarantee that all the costed elements will be funded if parts of the provision are considered quality first teaching or the staffing levels aren’t appropriate for the CYP’s SEN needs.

The school’s total number of high needs funded pupils by need type will also be taken into account when considering an application. There will be an expectation that schools utilise group work for CYP with similar needs.

Hourly rates to be used when costing a plan are in keeping with the HNF application (rounded):

TA= £15
HLTA= £18
Teacher= £43
SEN teacher= £48

Costs should be calculated for 38 weeks per year.

For example, Sensory circuits delivered for 15 minutes, three times per week by a TA at £15 per hour to a group of 3 pupils would be;

15 minutes x 3 times per week= 45 minutes
Weekly cost of the TA for 45 minutes= £11.25
£11.25 divided by 3 pupils= £3.75 per pupil
£3.75 x 38 weeks= £142.50 per annum

From April 2018, after the actual costs are agreed, a need specific graduated funding response will be applied.

Needs Specific Top Up Funding Rates from 1 April 2018 (PDF, 13.4 KB)

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Schools will need to register the Headteacher and SENCo to receive passwords to enable access to the application page.

The Headteacher will be the only member of staff who can submit the completed application form.

To register schools will need to provide the following information:

  • Name of school
  • DfE number
  • Name and email address of head teacher
  • Name and email address of SENCo.

Registration can be made by email to the High Needs Funding Officers in each area:

North Kent (Gravesham, Dartford, Sevenoaks)

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HNF Officer: Rebecca Hannant
Telephone: 03000 42 20 01

South Kent (Ashford, Shepway, Dover)
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HNF Officer: Alison Sandford
Telephone: 03000 41 03 49

East Kent (Canterbury, Swale, Thanet)
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HNF Officer: Maria White
Telephone: 03000 41 46 30

West Kent (Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells)
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Nicola Hockney
Telephone: 03000 41 20 58

Once registered temporary passwords will be sent to the email addresses provided by the school. These are only valid for 24 hours and need to be reset to a password of the individual's choosing on the application website

If a registered person does not login within this time they will need to request a temporary password when they initially access the application form (you will be prompted to do this on the homepage of the application form).

Once logged on, schools will need to add contact details of the Headteacher, SENCo and any other person who might be an appropriate contact regarding an application.

Once completed these details will appear on all future applications but can be updated at any time.

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Apply Here
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High Needs Funding online application form

  • If an application has to be deferred due to the need for additional information from a school, there will be an expectation that this is provided within two weeks. (School holidays will also be taken into account). If the information isn’t provided in this time the application will only be backdated to the date the information is finally provided rather than the initial submission date.
  • Schools and parents will be informed by email that top up funding will be provided and the length of the agreement. Maximum length will be for a whole key stage before reapplication is required. Review of the provision should continue during this time in line with the SEN Code of Practice (three times per year).
  • As part of the agreement there may also be recommendations for accessing other sources of support. For example, staff training or resources. These will be checked in monitoring visits.

Parental Guidance
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In response to requests from schools, we have produced a High Needs Funding Guidance document for parents/carers (DOCX, 785.1 KB) that schools are welcome to share to help explain the process. The document is also available to parents or carers within the Local Offer on

There is also an easy read guide to High Needs Funding for parent and carers (DOCX, 984.7 KB), and an audio guide (MP3, 507.1 KB).

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As part of the application you will be expected to upload a copy of the pupil's personalised plan (pupils at SEN Support) or provision plan (pupils with an EHC Plan). Below are useful links to these documents.

We plan to continue to improve the High Needs Funding system and would welcome your feedback and any comments you have by emailing Louise Hickman (Interim SEN Monitoring and Quality Assurance Manager) at

Contact Details
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Louise Hickman