High needs funding reform

Closed 17 Apr 2016

Opened 7 Mar 2016


We are seeking views on proposed improvements to the way that high needs funding is distributed, and other ways we can support the administration of funding for pupils and students with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, and for those who are in alternative provision (AP).

You can read a summary of the consultation and the case for change, and find more information about how the current funding system operates.

We are consulting in 2 stages. This first stage covers high level principles, key proposals and options to improve the way that high needs funding is allocated to local authorities, on the basis of a formula consisting of a number of factors. We would welcome views on:

  • the overall design of the formula
  • whether the formula factors are appropriate
  • how the formula should be phased in, to avoid disrupting the education of children and young people with SEN and disabilities
  • the ways we intend to help authorities address the cost pressures they face

We are also seeking views on proposed improvements to the funding arrangements and guidance to help local authorities, early years providers, mainstream schools, colleges and other institutions with students aged 16-25 who have SEN and disabilities. We would welcome views on whether what we are proposing will:

  • help local authorities and institutions understand their responsibilities for meeting the needs of children and young people with SEN and disabilities, including those with high needs, and to discharge those responsibilities effectively
  • encourage better partnership between local authorities and institutions in discharging their respective responsibilities under the Children and Families Act 2014

See also:


  • Teachers
  • Headteachers
  • Governors
  • Local authorities
  • Pupils
  • Young people
  • Parents


  • Alternative provision
  • Post-16 funding
  • School funding reform
  • Disabled children
  • SEND code of practice