High Needs Funding

High Needs Funding is the term for a block of money dedicated for pupils and students aged 0 to 25 years who need high levels of support.

It includes place-based funding for pre-16 and post-16 places in:

  • Special units and resourced provision in mainstream schools, including maintained, academies and free schools;
  • Post-16 high-needs places in mainstream schools, including maintained, academies and free schools;
  • Special schools, both maintained and academies;
  • Pupil-referral units (pre-16 places only);
  • Alternative provision academies and free schools (pre-16 places only);
  • Further education and independent learning providers (post-16 places only).

High Needs Funding also covers pupil-based top-up funding for pupils and students in places in these institutions. It is also used for top-up funding for pupils with high needs in special post-16 institutions, non-maintained special schools and all funding for children and young people with high needs placed in independent schools, independent alternative provision and hospital education.

Local Authorities receive a block grant from the Department for Education called the Dedicated Schools Grant or DSG.

Within the DSG there are four blocks: the schools block, high-needs, central services and early years.

The central school services block (CSSB) was introduced in 2018-19 to fund LAs for the statutory duties they hold for both maintained schools and academies.

The high needs funding system supports provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) from their early years to age 25, enabling both local authorities and institutions to meet their statutory duties under the Children and Families Act 2014.

High Needs Funding is also intended to support good quality AP for pre-16 pupils who, because of exclusion, illness or other reasons, cannot receive their education in mainstream or special schools.

The High Needs Funding block provides local authorities with resources for place funding and top-up funding for institutions, and funding for high needs services delivered directly by the authority or under a separate funding agreement with institutions (including funding devolved to institutions), as permitted by regulations.