Schools are funded in different ways.  This page explains the different types of funding available to schools, focusing on children and pupils with special educational needs.

The money to run schools comes from the Education & Skills Funding Agency through the Dedicated Schools Grant.  The money in split into three parts:

  • Schools Block
  • Early Years Block
  • High Needs Block

Schools Block

The money in Schools Block is directly given to schools and from April 2018 a national funding formula will be used to decide how much money should go to each school.  The formula looks at different factors like deprivation.  Find out more from the Education & Skills Funding Agency.

Early Years Block

This money funds Early Years provision and Nursery Schools and is given directly to the settings.  The amount of money given to each setting is decided by a national funding formula.  Part of this money is also put aside as a SEN Inclusion Fund for children with high needs who need educational provision that is additional to the provision available in the settings.

High Needs Block

This is money available to schools if the cost of a pupil's educational provision is beyond £10 000 (core and notional funding).  This funding is held by the Local Authority and is accessed through the Top Up process.

Find out about High Needs Block (Top Up).

The table below outlines what money should be available to pupils who need special educational provision in a mainstream school.

Type of Funding

Amount per year


Core Funding £4000 This is the amount on average given to a school for every pupil they have.  This money is given directly to schools. 
Notional SEND Funding £6000 This is the amount of money that should be available to pupils who need SEN Support.  This money is given directly to schools.
High Need Block Funding (Top Up) Varies This is an amount of money made available to pupils whose education provision is costing more than £10 000 per year.  This money is allocated through Top Up.

Special Schools funding is not split into core and notional funding.They recieve £10 000 for every pupil they have and then apply for High Needs Block funding (Top Up) if they feel they need more money for a pupil because the educational provision the pupil needs is additional to the provision available in the setting.

Other types of funding

Pupil Premium - This is an amount of money given directly to schools if they have pupils who meet certain criteria.  Pupils are eligible if they are five to 16 year olds are are:

  • eligible for free school meals (FSM), or have been eligible for FSM at any time during the last six years (known as Ever 6);
  • looked after children (LAC): funding for these children begins as soon as they enter the care system;
  • children who are adopted from care or who leave care under a special guardianship order;
  • children of parents serving in the armed forces.

Find out more about Pupil Premium.

16 - 19 Funding - This is the money available to settings who provide education for young people who are:

  • students aged 16 to 19 and
  • students up to the age of 25 when they have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • 14 to 16 year olds who are directly enrolled into eligible FE institutions
  • home educated students of compulsory school age at any FE college

Find out more about 16-19 Funding.

Who makes decisions?

Decisions about most funding is made by the Education & Skills Funding Agency.  Schools Forum, made up of representatives from Schools makes some local decisions (but not any decisions about individual pupils).  Find out about Schools Forum.


If you need any of these documents in a different format please contact us at


This page has information for residents in the City of Bristol.  Find out about what other Local Authorities do.

Last Update 27 April 2017 by SENDop