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SEND Inclusion Fund for early years children

Guide to types and levels of needs



Tier One funding level

Tier Two funding level


2 years


Where a 2-year-old child is in receipt of DLA it is likely that they will have significant difficulties accessing learning opportunities and will be developing and making progress more slowly or less evenly than other 2-year-olds. 

They are likely to demonstrate significant and enduring difficulties in one or more areas below at a significant level compared to same age peers.


3 years

Children at the age of 3 are showing skills and development below (6 months+)that of what could be expected for their age.

Children at the age of 3 are showing skills and development well below or significantly below (12 months+) that of what could be expected for their age.


4 years

Children at the age of 4 are showing skills and development below (6 months+) that of what could be expected for their age.

Children at the age of 4 are showing skills and development well below or significantly below (12 months+) that of what could be expected for their age.


Mild to moderate difficulties in learning and or acquiring skills - short term or focussed interventions needed beyond those available within settings own practice

Moderate difficulties in learning and or acquiring skills (ongoing educational intervention and support needed) to severe difficulties/ learning acquiring skills (significant global developmental delay/impairment affecting most aspects of development and adaptive function to a severe degree)



Mild to moderate phonological and/ language impairment or delay

Mild social communication impairment

Fluency; mild-moderate stammering

expected to improve after intervention

Moderate to severely delayed or disordered language development causing difficulty in communication outside the home or speech supplemented by an alternative method of communication or inability to use speech in a socially interactive manner difficulties impact heavily on access to learning opportunities requiring a high level of differentiation to access curriculum, communication frequently does not meet needs, degree of social isolation as a result of SLCN.

Moderate to severe social communication impairment

Fluency; moderate to severe e.g.  stammering



Needs support and supervision to initiate, sustain and complete task. May require assistance with complex elements e.g., cutting food, buttons, bottom wiping

Able to contribute to process, although dependent on assistance to complete task to not yet aware or not consistently aware of self-care needs. Assistance required from carer throughout activity with a little assistance provided by the child.    

Vision and hearing

Visual function is impaired (e.g., one eye defect) but does not require significant aids specialist advice and monitoring

One sided severe hearing deficit; HL 20-40 dB, bilateral mild sensorineural hearing loss.

Visual function is impaired and will require specialist input

Unable to see/read large print/ pictures/symbols without aids. Severe field defect with poor acuity; registered blind

Hearing impairment, HL 41-70 dB Hearing aids issued

Restricted learning and communication due to hearing deficit; HL 71-94dB

Mobility/ co-ordination

Independent but may have some coordination difficulties that require occasional use of aids or assistance/ supervision

Has some difficulties manipulating tools in an age-appropriate way

Developing independence but uses aids for part of the day and needs some assistance to unable to walk without aids e.g., walking frame, leg splints or be a wheelchair user - may have very poor balance and require support to transfer and access certain activities.

Handles tools/ objects with reduced quality and/or speed of achievement or difficulty, needs help to use tools or modified activities.



Needs some support for attention difficulties


Needs support to initiate and maintain attention to significant difficulties initiating and maintaining attention needs frequent prompting/ motivators/ support

Social, emotional development


Frequent but not severe disruption /difficulties in social/behavioural functioning or delay in developing skills needed for emotional well-being, relationships

Difficulties or significant and persistent difficulties in social, emotional and behavioural development - frequent and severe challenging behaviours, including some that may be harmful to themselves or others.

Persistent problems causing dysfunction severe enough to need some extra support or supervision.  Marked difficulty in relating to other children or adults' Extreme difficulties coping with group activities, and unable to relate well with peers or adults requiring support and supervision. May also present as severely socially isolated or withdrawn.

Medical e.g.

Epilepsy, asthma, feeding, immune suppressed.

Has a medical condition that requires limited adult monitoring/support, and maintaining of a health plan

This on its own would not be sufficient to require funding unless there is an impact on other aspects of learning and development and CCG, (Clinical Commissioning Group) may fund training and support for this.

Has a medical condition that requires regular adult monitoring, staff training and awareness, a health plan and is impacting on access to /progress in learning opportunities or significant adult input and supervision from trained staff, liaison with Health Care professionals and support to access learning opportunities.



Tier one funding level

Tier two funding level