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SEND Funding in Leeds


All schools receive a budget directly from the government and part of this is for the education and provision of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This is sometimes called the inclusion budget. Mainstream schools are expected to fund up to £6,000 of SEND provision and education for a child from this budget.

Local authorities receive extra funding to support and fund school’s SEND provision and inclusion. In many local authorities access to extra funding (over the £6,000) is available through an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan. However, in Leeds this is not the case. Schools in Leeds can apply for extra funding for individual pupils with SEND, for their education and provision when this cannot be met from the £6,000 funding schools already have been allocated. This funding is sometimes called top-up funding.

Types of Funding available in Leeds

In Leeds, settings can apply for top-up funding (called Funding for Inclusion or FFI) under the following categories:

  • Cognition and learning needs
  • Vision needs
  • Hearing needs
  • Physical needs
  • Communication and interaction needs
  • Social, emotional and mental health needs
  • Health care/medical needs

Settings must provide evidence that the pupil needs meet a set of criteria set out by Leeds SEND Team, to receive the FFI. This often includes evidence from other professionals working with the child such as medical professionals, as well as evidence from the setting.

Early Years

  • SENDIF – used to support children aged three or four years old with low level needs or emerging SEND. Click here for a Leeds City Council guide to SENDIF: Simple Guide to EY SENDIF.pdf
  • EYFFI – used to support two, three and four year olds with SEND who meet the criteria. Click here for a Leeds City Council guide to EYFFI: Simple Guide to EYFFI.pdf

School Age

  • FFI – used to support children of school age who meet criteria. Settings can apply for FFI in specific year groups. Click here for a Leeds City Council guide to FFI: Your Simple Guide to FFI.pdf

Post 16

Post 16 placements are funded by a place plus system and the local authority pays £10,000 per place. Pupils are then allocated Additional Learner Support (ALS) to meet any additional support costs that they might have. 

Personal Budget

A personal budget is:

An amount of money identified by the local authority or the NHS to help support a child or young person and their family to achieve the outcomes stated in their assessment of needs. The aim of personal budgets is to give families more choice in how children and young people are supported and directly involved in organising that support.

An education personal budget enables the family to make different support arrangements to that a school or college would have put in place. Education funding that can be used as a personal budget is that which is normally paid to settings to provide support for a specific child or young person.’ (Leeds City Council Personal Budgets One Minute Guide)

To receive an education personal budget, a child or young person must already have FFI and an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.

A personal budget in the form of a direct payment is also available for short breaks (see below).

Click here for a Leeds City Council guide to Personal Budgets: One minute guide: Personal budgets (leeds.gov.uk)

Short breaks

A child may have been assessed as benefiting from short breaks to help meet their SEND. This may be as part of an Early Help Plan or Child and Family Assessment. Parents can access funding called direct payments to fund this. A panel decides whether direct payments are appropriate. Direct payments for short breaks do not require an EHC Plan.

Find out more information about short breaks here: Short breaks for disabled children (leeds.gov.uk), One minute guide: Short breaks and fun activities (leeds.gov.uk)

Who can I speak to for more information and advice about funding?

If you want more information about funding or think your child may be eligible for funding or direct payments, you can speak to:

  • The Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at your child’s school or nursery
  • Your SEN Casework Officer (if applicable)
  • Your child’s social worker (if applicable)

Additional support from Leeds MENCAP

Speak to other parents with children with SEN and disabilities on our closed Facebook group.

Check out the rest of our Family Support offer. We have:

  • Weekly Chats and Tots coffee morning
  • Family Support workers who can offer advice, signposting and support
  • Lots of tips and resources on our website

Additional support and resources

This information is not affiliated with Leeds MENCAP.

If you want more information about funding in general:

Leeds City Council guidance:

Your Simple Guide to FFI.pdf

Simple Guide to EYFFI.pdf

Simple Guide to EY SENDIF.pdf

One minute guide: Short breaks and fun activities (leeds.gov.uk)

One minute guide: Personal budgets (leeds.gov.uk)

Other organisations who offer advice:  Leeds SENDIASS: SEND funding (leeds.gov.uk)

SEND and the law

The UK law provides protection to people with disabilities and promotes their rights and welfare. Leeds Mencap are not legal experts, this page has been created to assemble key SEND legislation but we cannot offer legal advice.

Explore relevant legislation below.

Equality Act (2010)

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various aspects of their life, including employment, education, and access to goods and services.

In education, the act requires that schools and universities make reasonable adjustments to ensure that students with disabilities are not at a disadvantage compared to their peers.

Read the full act here.

The Children and Families Act (2014)

The Children and Families Act 2014 sets out a number of key provisions for children and young people with SEND, including:

  • The right to an education that is appropriate to their needs, and that promotes their well-being and development
  • The requirement for local authorities to carry out assessments of children’s needs and to prepare education, health, and care plans (EHCPs) for those with the most complex needs
  • The right to appeal against decisions made by local authorities regarding support and provision for children with SEND
  • The requirement for schools to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that children with disabilities are not at a disadvantage compared to their peers
  • The requirement for schools to designate a SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) to coordinate support for children with SEND.

Read the full act here.

SEND Code of Practice (2015)

The SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Code of Practice is a guidance document issued by the UK government that provides practical advice for schools, local authorities, and other organizations on how to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (aged 0-25).

The SEND Code of Practice sets out the legal framework for how schools and local authorities should work together to identify and support children with special educational needs and disabilities, and it also provides guidance on how to involve parents and carers in the decision-making process.

The SEND Code of Practice covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • The definition of special educational needs and disabilities
  • The process for identifying and assessing children’s needs
  • The provision of support and services for children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • The role of parents, carers, and young people in decision-making
  • The responsibilities of schools and local authorities in meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • The transition process from early years to adulthood.

Some of the key principles of the SEND Code of Practice include:

  • The importance of early identification and intervention for children with SEND
  • The need for a person-centred approach that focuses on the individual needs of each child
  • The importance of involving parents, carers, and young people in decision-making
  • The requirement for schools and local authorities to work together to provide coordinated support and services
  • The need for regular reviews and evaluations of progress and support.

Read the full document here.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

What is DLA

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a non-means tested benefit that can help with the extra costs of looking after a child:

  • who is under 16, and
  • has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability.

It does not have a negative effect on other benefits you may be claiming and, depending on the level of your income, it may also increase the amount of Universal or tax credit you can claim. You may also be entitled to carers allowance.

There’s a list of eligibility criteria that your child will need to meet. Take a look at the GOV.UK website to find out more.

How much DLA is my child entitled to

DLA is split into two parents: the care component and the mobility component.

The care component

Can be claimed from 0 years.

The care component is based on how much care and supervision your child needs and is split into 3 rates.

  • High rate: if your child needs frequent supervision throughout the day and night.
  • Middle rate: if your child needs supervision throughout the day or night.
  • Lower rate: if your child needs extra care for at least an hour of the day, but not at night.

You do not have to ‘choose’ which rate you are applying for – the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will read your application and evidence and make a decision.

The mobility component

The mobility component is based on your child’s ability to walk and how hard they find it to get around places that they don’t know well.

This is split into 2 rates.

  • Higher rate: For children aged 3+. This is usually awarded to children with severe physical difficulties who cannot walk. It may also be awarded to children with severe learning disabilities who receive high rate care component and they exhibit dangerous and disruptive behaviour or refusal episodes. If your child has a learning disability or autism spectrum disorder they may qualify for this rate.
  • Lower rate: For children aged 5+. Awarded if your child needs someone to guide or supervise them on unfamiliar routes and they needs more help getting around than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a health condition.

If your child has a learning disability or autism spectrum disorder they may qualify for higher rater mobility. This guide by Contact breaks down the qualifying criteria for higher rate mobility component for children with learning disabilities.

How to claim DLA

There are 2 ways to apply for Disability Living Allowance:

  1. Printing off and filling in the DLA claim form.
  2. Phoning the Disability Living Allowance helpline on 0800 121 4600 and asking for a printed form.

We recommend calling the DLA helpline, as this will mean your claim can be back-dated from the time you called.

Once you have the form, take some time to prepare by:

  • Reading through the questions and thinking about your answers.
  • Keeping a diary for 1 to 2 weeks, use it to write down all the things you do for your child.
  • Speak to your child’s school or nursery for a supporting statement about your child’s needs. This is Q38 on your DLA form (pages 10-11) and could come from a key worker, class teacher or SENCO. They may also be able to help with Q67 and Q68 (pages 29-30) and be able to provide you with copies of reports or behaviour plans.
  • Photocopy any letters, reports of EHCPs that you want to include in the claim.

Our guidance booklet provides a template for your diary and behaviour log.

What to focus on

It can help to focus on the following things when submitting your DLA claim:

  • Specific examples or scenarios that show the ways your child needs support – make a note of how long it takes you to provide this support.
  • Any guidance or supervision your child needs in unfamiliar places.
  • How many days a week are ‘good’ days versus ‘bad’ days.
  • Any non-physical ways your child is affected by their condition including anxiety or depression.
  • How their care needs differ from other children of the same age.

Don’t feel bad about dwelling on negatives, while this certainly doesn’t paint the full picture of who your child is, it’s important to show their highest levels of needs in your form.

Support for filling in a claim form

Irwin Mitchell and Carers Leeds have put together a step-by-step guide to completing the DLA claim form. It includes useful tips and tricks to help you avoid the pitfalls when filling in this form. Watch the video guide below:

How we can help

The Family Support team is happy to support you to fill in your DLA forms. However, please download our guidance booklet and complete the checklist tasks prior to meeting with us. Completing these tasks means we will be able to best help you.

More information about DLA

The GOV.UK website has lots of information about Disability Living Allowance including the current rates for children, what changes you need to report and what happens when your child turns 16.

Contact the Disability Living Allowance helpline

Telephone: 0800 121 4600

Textphone: 0800 121 4523

Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4600

British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer – find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Find out about call charges

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC plan or EHCP)

What is an EHCP

An Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is a legal document for a child or young person up to the age of 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). It describes their educational, health and social care needs and the help they will get to meet them.

The plan is all about making sure children and young people receive the support they need to achieve their life goals.

In Leeds, EHCPs are created, reviewed and monitored by the SENSAP (Special Educational Needs Statutory Assessment and Provision) Team.

Watch this short video from Leeds City Council to learn more about EHCPs:

Read transcript (PDF)

EHCP assessments and reviews

At present, we are aware people are experiencing delays in the EHCP assessment process. For updates from SENSAP about the system and process – check Leeds Local Offer page.

Before applying for an EHCP, school will have to show they have carried out targeted interventions and that the child or young person is still not making expected progress. Schools do this by following the graduated response process. Read about the support schools should provide before applying for an EHCP, and about the graduated response cycle here.

A parent/carer can submit a request for an EHCP independently, without input from the child’s school or setting. However, we recommend discussing with your child’s settings if you think they may need an EHCP. The process is very evidence driven, and takes on the views of many professionals – so it’s good to have a discussion with school to ensure they are in the process of collecting sufficient evidence about your child’s need and progress. School can then help you with making your request.

Within 6 weeks of making your request, a Multi-agency panel meeting will be held. During this meeting a decision will be made about whether or not to carry out an EHCP assessment.

Following the assessment, if it’s agreed that your child needs an EHCP, evidence from professionals (including class teachers, medical professionals and educational psychologists) will be gathered and a draft plan will be made.

This will be disused in a next steps meeting. Following this, a final version of the plan will be issued. This final EHCP should be issued within 20 weeks of the initial request.

EHCPs are usually reviewed every 12 months, starting from the date of the first final EHCP. The review meeting will look at what progress has been made towards the outcomes specified in the EHC plan, and recommend what changes may need to be made considering this and the views of the young person.

A map outlining initial school support leading up to, and including the EHCP assessment proccess.

Further support and information

Our family support team are happy to answer any questions you might have about EHCPs. We can also signpost you to further information or support. Call us on 0113 235 1331 or email info@leedsmencap.org.uk

View all documents relating to EHCPs on the Leeds Local Offer website. This includes monthly updates from the SENSAP team regarding the process across the city.

Visit the Leeds City Council website to find information about EHCPs including how to apply for an application form and what to do if you’re unhappy with a decision about your child’s EHCP.

SENDIASS run online information sessions discussing topics such as SEND support in mainstream schools, EHCP assessments and refusal to assess appeals. View upcoming sessions on their website.

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