Country information for UK (England) - Financing of inclusive education systems

Local authorities (LAs) receive their schools’ funding through a dedicated schools grant (DSG), a ring-fenced grant paid by the Department for Education. It is up to each LA to distribute funding – in consultation with a local schools forum – to its schools, using its locally agreed formula. It is up to schools’ governing bodies to decide how to spend their available resources. The local formula can use any number of 13 formula factors, including proxies of special educational needs (SEN) such as low prior attainment. The DSG provides most funding for SEN provision in schools.

LAs, in consultation with their schools forums, decide how much money will be retained centrally within their schools’ budget for expenditure on items such as independent special school fees, SEN support services and money for individual pupils with high-level needs. LAs also decide how much will be delegated to schools. This includes a budget that schools can use to provide additional support to pupils with SEN. Most schools are given enough funding to provide additional SEN support that costs up to GBP 6,000 per year. LAs can give them extra funding if they have a disproportionate number of pupils with SEN. It is for governors and head teachers to decide how their school’s delegated funding will be used to provide additional SEN support for their pupils.

Special schools and units get GBP 10,000 per place and school; sixth forms and colleges get slightly more. The LA provides top-up funding for learners with high needs in special schools and specialist colleges as well as mainstream schools and colleges, to meet the costs of additional support in excess of these thresholds. This high needs funding system extends to students up to the age of 24.

The Department for Education collects annual data on SEN expenditure by LAs as part of wider (Section 251) expenditure collection (Source: CPRA – UK England Country Report, p. 14).


Last updated 27/03/2018

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