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SEND Inclusion Fund for early years children

Steps for making an application

Step 1: The step-by-step approach- what you must do first

Children may demonstrate delay in their learning and development for reasons other than SEND. Most children with SEND do not need specialist resources or enhanced staffing to be successfully included and most settings can meet the needs of children with SEND through their own best practice and using the assess, plan, do, review cycle.

Before making an application

  • Whilst trying to identify whether a child has SEND look for other reasons that may be impacting on a child’s progress and causing a delay, such as having English as an additional language or family circumstances and then provide appropriate support.
  • Where there are still concerns that the child may have SEND discuss these concerns with the parents getting their views and sharing any information gathered. They must be involved in the decision to apply for support from the SENDIF and agree with the application.
  • Do all you can in partnership with parents and other professionals to identify and respond to the difficulties the child has, using different approaches, strategies, staff and resources that are already available in your provision. You should record, monitor and review this individualised planning for effectiveness and keep evidence of this as you will be asked to provide information about how you have used your current resources and staffing to meet the needs of the child as part of answering the question ‘what have you put in place so far to help the child?’
  • Gather information on the child’s needs as you will asked to provide this as part of answering the question ‘what strengths and what needs does the child have?’ Where specialists are already involved their advice should be used to further develop an effective individualised response. Where the provision they recommend is intensive or significant you may wish to consider the need for additional funding.
  • If your setting is a Private, Voluntary and Independent setting, including childminders and you need advice for completing a tier two funding application, please contact your SENDIP (Special Educational Needs and Disability Inclusion Practitioner). If your setting is a nursery school or a school with a nursery class and you need advice for completing a tier two funding application, please contact the Early Years Schools Advisory team for advice.

Step 2: Areas and levels of need- what strengths and what needs does the child have?

  • You will need to explain and show information of the nature and severity of the child’s difficulties, and how these impact on their development, learning and participation in learning for the panel to make a decision about funding.
  • Please see the guide to types and levels of need that apply in relation to the SENDIF. We recognise that every child is unique, and the grid should only be regarded as a guide to assist your application.

Step 3: Types of provision likely to be needed- what the child might need

You should consider the provision that is needed to help support the child that is beyond that which you have already put in place. It is likely that this additional provision will have been recommended by professionals supporting the child or you as the setting. 

As part of the question ‘what do you need to do next and how will funding help you do this?’, you will need to explain how the funding would be used to improve the support you already have in place to help the child. It is likely to include one or a combination of the following:

  • A more personalised use of approaches such as visual timetables, objects of reference, picture exchange systems 
  • Further differentiation of activities and materials to support specific and individual targets
  • Regular direct teaching sessions clearly planned for the individual child
  • Small group work or individualised support for specific and planned activities
  • Regular supervision and individualised and consistent behaviour management approaches and personalised reward systems
  • Support to maintain concentration and participation
  • Additional supervision when accessing activities or equipment for safety
  • Support to manage personal care, mobility or medical needs
  • Support to gain positive relationships with peers
  • Specialist equipment or resources
  • Staff training to understand the area of need and how to support the child
  • On-going support from a range of professionals through direct work, programme development, TACs etc..
  • Increasingly intensive support/interventions requiring increased staffing ratios (this does not mean the child needs 1:1 always)

You should ensure that you are monitoring and reviewing the provision to ensure the child or children are making progress (this could include reducing or stopping provision where outcomes are met). You must involve parents and appropriate professionals in any discussions.

Step 4: Information to support your application- what we need to know

As part of your application, the panel needs to know what the child or children’s particular needs are. This helps the panel to make an informed decision about the funding. It is not the quantity of information that is important but the quality of information that you provide.

Essential information

The essential information on the child that you include in the application form is very important for allocating funding so please take time to complete this fully.  

Tier one funding

If you are making an application for tier one funding, you should complete section 6 of the application form and include a completed Development Overview sheet. Please note that guidance is available for completing the Development Overview sheet

Tier two funding

If you are making an application for higher level, tier 2 funding, you should complete section 7 of the application form and include a completed Development Overview sheet and one additional piece of information from the list below 

  • information from previous setting, KIDS, or portage
  • progress reports, including from partner agencies
  • health care plan, risk assessment or similar plans
  • evidence of individualised assessment, planning, provision, monitoring and evaluation cycles
  • evidence from professionals* involved including reports of assessments, consultation/involvement records programmes provided, referral form to external agency, TAC meeting minutes

(*e.g., Paediatrician, Speech and Language Therapist, Health Visitor, Physiotherapist, Educational Psychologist, Early Years Autism Team, Social Care Services)

We have created an example of what a completed form for tier two funding could include.

When referring to the example please note the following:

  • The example form must be used alongside the guidance handbook
  • The example form was created to show that the quality of information is more important than the quantity. It should be used as a guide only and your application does not have to be set out in this way.  
  • Other than the information requested there is no expectation to include lots of additional evidence, however you are welcome to include any other types of evidence that you feel are useful to help the panel make a decision.