SEND education and learning

Education support and funding

The support a child with a special educational need (SEN) or disability will receive depends on the level of their need. For most children, support at the earliest opportunity is all they need to enable them to make progress.

Support from educational settings - Ordinarily Available Provision

A great majority of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities should have their needs effectively met through high-quality teaching and SEND support arrangements within mainstream settings. 

Hillingdon Ordinarily Available Provision (PDF) [727KB] outlines the indicative arrangements that should be ordinarily available for pupils with SEND (from within schools' delegated budget shares).

Early Support Funding

A small number of children and young people will need a higher level of support than early years, schools and post 16 settings feel they can provide from their normal budget. 

These will be children and young people who have already received a high level of support within the setting but they are not progressing / progressing sufficiently well.  

For these children, group educational settings can email our SEND Advisory Service at to apply for Early Support Funding, which will be used to deliver the outcomes in the child's 'My Support Plan'.

SEND Exceptional Funding (SENDEX) 

Educational settings may ask the council to provide urgent and immediate financial assistance to help educate a pupil who requires immediate support (for the short to medium term) to access the curriculum, and where such access is likely to be at additional cost to the school's budget. 

This assistance may be needed due to exceptional circumstances where the setting cannot access support through regular pathways, such as Early Support Funding or special educational needs provision through the Education Health and Care Plan (usually where there is no specific evidence of Assess, Plan, Do, Review). 

Exceptional funding can support a pupil who does not have an EHCP but is likely to meet the threshold for needs assessment, and pupils whose Educational Health Care Needs Assessment has just been initiated. 

SENDEX is allocated to the setting on the short-term basis and does not move with a pupil when they change setting. 

Funding available for early years settings (pre-school children) only 

Early Years Inclusion Funding 

Early Years Inclusion Funding (EYIF) supports early years settings to enhance their environment, run targeted interventions, or develop specialist resources, to best meet the needs of a number of children across the setting.  

The following groups would be eligible for this support: 

  • 0 to 3-year-olds where parents/carers are paying the cost of placement or where other funding streams are supporting their placement 
  • 2-year-olds in receipt of 2-year-old funding 
  • 3 and 4-year-olds in receipt of Early Education Entitlement (any number of hours). 

This funding is also available to childminding services that are educating or caring for children with SEND. 

Disability access fund (DAF) 

This is extra funding available for 3 and 4-year olds who are accessing their free early years funding entitlement and are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. It helps a child to access free early education places, by supporting providers to make reasonable adjustments to their settings. 

Your provider can not apply for DAF if they have already applied for early years inclusion funding on behalf of the child. 

Children with significant difficulties

Some children and young people who have significant difficulties may require an Education Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA).  The assessment is completed by a relevant professional in consultation with the parent/carer(s) and determines whether the child or young person needs an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Page last updated: 20 Dec 2023