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How to apply for SENIF

In order to apply for Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF), settings must complete the online SENIF Request Form.

Applying for SENIF

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To ensure the child meets the criteria for SENIF, settings will be expected to provide the following pre-existing evidence uploaded to the request as part of completing the SENIF Request Form. For all requests (new and renewals) if this evidence is not received the request cannot be considered.

  1. SENIF Request Form
  2. The most recently reviewed Early Years (EY) Personalised Plan.(Please see EY Personalised Plan Guidance for further information on how to complete a personalised plan)
  3. The current Personalised Plan, including current attainment
  4. The most recent Specialist Teacher’s Record of Support and Intervention (Record of Visit) if available.

Applying for SENIF For children receiving Portage:

  • For children who have been receiving Portage for at least 8 weeks who may require SENIF support in order to start at the setting, a home or group visit will be undertaken with the Portage Practitioner.
  • The EY setting Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) or key person to complete the SENIF Request Form and the EY Personalised Plan.  The Current EY Personalised Plan should include outcomes which build upon what the child is able to achieve at home from the Portage Long Term Aims Achieved and baseline attainment should be included which is obtained from the setting SENCO or key person observations of the child at the home or group visit and stay and play sessions at the setting.
  • The Portage Profile and report will be emailed to the SENIF Finance Team by the Portage Practitioner to accompany the request.
  • This route can only be used for children who are currently open to Portage, have been receiving Portage for at least 8 weeks and where SENIF is requested in advance of the child’s start or within their first term at the setting and no later than the last day of the term in which they joined, as per the published term dates calendar.
  • For further information please see the SENIF Guidance document.
  • Agreements made via this route may be made for a short time to enable the child to start/settle. You will then be required to provide the outstanding evidence, including the Reviewed and new Current Personalised Plans and the Record of Visit from the Specialist Teacher.
  • It is recommended to attend Early Years LIFT as soon as you are able to ensure you can provide the required evidence when reapplying.

The Applying for SENIF when open to Portage document details the responsibilities of the family, Portage Practitioner and Early Years Provider.

Applying for SENIF for Children with Physical Difficulties or Complex Medical Needs:

  1. SENIF Applications for children with Physical Difficulties or Complex Medical Needs.

Applying for SENIF for children who have a Proposed or Final Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP):

  1. SENIF Request Form.
  2. Current Personalised/Provision Plan or equivalent including current attainment level.

SEN Inclusion Funding terms                                                                        

Please note SENIF agreements are made in line with the following terms:

  1. SEN Inclusion funding terms.

Deferred entry to primary school

Parents have the right to start their child at school on a full time basis from the September following their fourth birthday. Parents also have the right to delay their child's start date (known as deferred entry), until later in the school year, but not beyond the beginning of the term after they turn 5 and not beyond the beginning of the final term of the school year in April. Children may also start part time later in the school year, but not beyond the beginning of the term after they turn 5.

Summer-born children
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Children born between 1 April and 31 August are sometimes referred to as summer born children. They have the same right to defer entry as any other child. This means they must start school at the beginning of the April term if they wish to keep their offer. Where parents wish for their summer born child to defer entry until the start of Year 1, they must refuse their offered place, which may be offered to a different child, and then reapply through the In Year process during the last month of reception year.

Where a family have chosen to defer their child’s entry to primary provision it is possible for the child to continue to access their Early Education Entitlement at their chosen Early Years Provider, until the end of the term in which the child turn 5. This means that SENIF could be agreed for a child who has an agreement to defer their entry to primary provision. This agreement is either a written agreement from the mainstream primary school which agrees to the deferred entry and sets out the plan for later access to a school place or a Final EHCP which names the chosen Early Years Provider.

The Deferred Entry flow chart (PDF, 137.2 KB) includes more information on the process and the required evidence when making a SENIF Request for a child who has deferred their entry.

Contact Details
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In case of difficulties in completing the online form please contact the SENIF Team

Some of the files on this page may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. See our accessibility statement for information on how to request an alternative format.


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