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Early years SEN Top-up Funding

Girl painting

Early years settings are able to make referrals for Early Years SEN Top-up funding to support them financially to carry out planned interventions.  The aim of Top-up funding is to contribute to supporting settings to meet individual children’s needs. 

Money allocated can be spent on additional staff support for the child within the setting as well as additional resources and equipment.  In some cases it may be appropriate for this support to be provided by the setting, whereas in others it may be necessary to ‘buy in’ specialist support, for example from a specialist provider such as Springboard Opportunity Group.  The funding can also be used to meet the child’s needs through specialised training for staff members and releasing staff to liaise with parents/carers and other professionals.

How early years settings apply for funding

North Somerset Area SENCOs advise early years settings on how and when to make a referral for Early Years SEN Top-up funding.  Evidence is collected and submitted to a multi-agency panel for a decision about funding. 

A set of early years criteria has been created which describes children’s needs and defines a category and level of need for funding purposes.  If children’s needs meet the criteria, the setting will be entitled to additional funding on top of their standard funding for the free early education entitlement.  The money will be allocated specifically for individual children.  If a child in receipt of the funding moves to a different setting the funding will move with them.

Early years settings should consider in partnership with parents, how best to use any additional money to support the progress of children with SEN.

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