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Early Years Forum SEND Inclusion Fund - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the SEND Inclusion Fund?

As part of the Government's Early Years National Funding Formula, Local Authorities are required to establish a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Inclusion Fund for 2, 3 and 4 year olds with special educational needs who are accessing their free entitlement. The funds are intended to enable local authorities to work with early years providers to meet the needs of individual children with SEN to support children’s learning and development. National guidance also states local authority’s should target the fund at children with “lower level or emerging SEN.” Staffordshire’s SEND Inclusion Fund is therefore provided to Staffordshire private, voluntary and independent pre-school settings as a contribution towards meeting the additional needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

What do I need to do before I put in an application?

Before an application is made to the SEN Inclusion Fund providers must have undertaken an assessment of an individual child and put in place existing resource. This support will be over and above that support which is ordinarily available to children in your setting. Much of this support will be provided through differentiation of the curriculum and reasonable adjustments. The setting should also consult with external specialist support services, as appropriate e.g. Early Years Area SENCos, speech and language therapists.

What is the criteria to receive funding?

Applications for children who have a very significant difficulty in one area only, which is impacting on their education, may be considered for funding, if appropriate evidence is provided. 

Funding will not be available until the term after a child’s 2nd birthday. 

Child 24 – 30 months

Evidence that the child is working in the following Early Years Foundation Stage range in two of the three prime areas

(communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development)

Tier 1

13 months or higher.

Tier 2

7-12 months.

Tier 3

0 – 6 months.

Child 31 – 36 months

Evidence that the child is working in the following Early Years Foundation Stage range in two of the three prime areas

(communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development)

Tier 1

19 months or higher.

Tier 2

13 – 18 months.

Tier 3

0-12 months

Child 37 – 42 months

Evidence that the child is working in the following Early Years Foundation Stage range in two of the three prime areas

(communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development)

Tier 1

31 months or higher.

Tier 2

19 – 30 months.

Tier 3

0-18 months

Child 43 – 48 months

Evidence that the child is working in the following Early Years Foundation Stage range in two of the three prime areas

(communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development)

Tier 1

31 months or higher.

Tier 2

19-30 months.

Tier 3

0-18 months.

Child 49 – 54 months

Evidence that the child is working in the following Early Years Foundation Stage range in two of the three prime areas

(communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development)

Tier 1

37 months or higher.

Tier 2

25 - 36 months.

Tier 3

0-24 months.

Child 55 – 60 months

Evidence that the child is working in the following Early Years Foundation Stage range in two of the three prime areas

(communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development)

Tier 1

43 months or higher.

Tier 2

31 - 42 months.

Tier 3

0-30 months.

Child 61 – 66 months

Evidence that the child is working in the following Early Years Foundation Stage range in two of the three prime areas

(communication and language, physical development, personal, social and emotional development)

Tier 1

49 months or higher.

Tier 2

37 - 48 months.

Tier 3

0-36 months.

What is the Funding?

There are three levels of funding:

Tier 1

Lower level needs will be met by the settings through the setting’s own resources as part of the graduated response.  Much of this support will be provided through differentiation of the curriculum and reasonable adjustments.

Tier 2

£410 per term.  Tier 2 funding will usually be allocated for one term.

Tier 3

£890 per term.  Tier 3 funding will usually be allocated for two terms.

All children will be deemed eligible for 15 hours attendance, unless they have an eligibility code for 30 hours funding.  This includes two-year-olds who do not qualify for Think2 funding.  Eligibility codes for 30 hours funding must be obtained and recorded on the Early Years Portal to confirm eligibility 5 working days before a funding meeting, otherwise it may be assumed that the child is not eligible to receive funding.

How do I apply?

You can access the application form and other information about the Early Years and SEND Inclusion Fund on the SEND Local Offer

As forms may be updated over time please access the forms on this page each time to ensure you are using the most current version.

Funding meetings will take place each half term and applications must be received within at least 10 working days of a funding meeting.  Applications will be considered by a multi-agency funding group. This will ensure applications are considered by a range of practitioners and ensure consistency in decision making.

The Early Years Area SENCOs can provide support to settings who may require this in order to complete the application form and provide assessment levels.

How will I know if I have been successful?

Funding meetings will take place each half term. You will receive a letter as soon as possible, and within at least 2 weeks of the funding meeting.

 

What can we use the funding for?

Funding is awarded to help you meet the child’s additional needs.  We anticipate that this will be used to provide one-to-one support to deliver targeted teaching or small group support.  It should not be used for resources or training. 

The child attends all year round. Can we have funding in the school holidays?

The funding provided will be a lump sum for a term but can be utilised over a period of time in the same way as the 15 or 30 hours can be stretched.  As funding is pro-rated based on attendance we need you to state on the application form if you are stretching funding so that, for example, the child is using their 15 hours entitlement as 12 hours per week stretched all year. 

What happens if the child attends two settings?

Both settings can apply for additional funding, but the total number of hours will not exceed their entitlement of 15 or 30 hours.

What happens if the child moves settings?

We need the first setting to inform us as soon as possible of the move.  Funding can be transferred in half-termly increments from the old to a new setting. If a child moves before half term the remaining half term will be reclaimed from the old setting and transferred to the new setting. 

 

The child attends for 35 hours, but the letter states that funding has been based on 15 hours attendance. Can you explain?

We can provide funding up to the child’s entitlement which for all children is deemed to be 15 hours per week, unless they are eligible for the 30 hours childcare.  We cannot provide additional funding for hours above this amount.

Why have you not contacted parents about the funding?

The setting is responsible for meeting the needs of the children attending their setting.  Additional funding arrangements are made by the local authority to support settings in meeting their responsibilities.  We do not feel that parents need to be involved in these funding decisions. 

My child lives in Staffordshire but attends a nursery in another authority. Can the setting apply for funding?

Each local authority is responsible for supporting pre-school settings within their authority, including providing SEND Inclusion funding.  Therefore, the child’s setting should apply to their own local authority for additional funding based on that authority’s criteria.

We are a Staffordshire nursery with a child who lives in another authority - can we apply for funding?

Yes.  You need to show proof that the child’s home local authority is aware of them.  This proof can be a letter, email or referral to the Early Year Team of the home local authority.

How will funding be monitored?

The Early Years Area SENCOs will take a role in monitoring the funded places.

Can I appeal the funding decision?

There is no formal appeals process.  However, the funding group may look again at an application if requested. 

What happens if a child gets a final Educational, Health and Care Plans whilst they are also receiving SEND Inclusion funding?

At the point that a child gets a finalised Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, the funding will transfer from SEND Inclusion to EHC.  EHC funding is described in terms of hours of support, unlike the SEND Inclusion fund, which is a single payment. 

If the EHCP is finalised prior to the Early Year funding ceasing, then the local authority will reclaim the necessary Early Year funding, based on the number of days remaining. The setting will get funding from the date the EHCP is finalised by the setting invoicing finance for the cost of support.  

What is transition funding?

Transition funding is provided for one term to help a school meet a child’s needs in Reception.   If a child received SEND Inclusion Funding at Tier 2 or Tier 3 during the second half of the summer term before they go to school, transition funding will be provided to their new school for one term.  This is at the same level as the funding they received in the summer term but may be increased to reflect full-time attendance at school.  The SEND Inclusion Fund is designed to meet the needs of a child in a pre-school setting, and will therefore reflect their needs there, rather than in school.

Will we still have to fill out a review for forum separately?

The review of a child for the Early Years Forum and the funding application form will be separate as the information required is different.  The review for the Early Years Forum is required to monitor the progress of a child and enable the Forum to suggest the right support for the child, at the right time.

Is there other funding I can apply for?

Who do I contact with further questions?

Emma Dodd, Senior Educational Psychologist Chairs the Early Years Forums.  She can be contacted on emma.dodd@staffordshire.gov.uk