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SEND Inclusion Fund for early years children

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do we have to submit a completely new application for children returning to the setting who received funding last year?

No. You are not required to complete a new application. Please use the original form and update it in another colour. Include information about how the funding from SENDIF has been used over the time you have received it (e.g. buying additional resources or staff training) and any new specialist advice and how that is used.

Please include current development judgements as well as tracking data.  Please be aware that the funding may go up or down depending on progress and the child’s match to criteria.

2. Can a setting still receive SENDIF if a child is due to start reception but not going?

Yes, if the either or both of the following conditions apply:

  • The child is summer born and the parents are requesting deferred entry
  • The child is a new arrival and no school place found yet

3. Can a setting still make an application to the last panel of the year for a child who will be leaving to go into Reception in September?

It depends on the circumstances. The last panel of the academic year is the ‘forward planning’ panel. This panel is for applications for children who will be joining the 2’s (where eligible) and 3 and 4’s age group or remaining in these age groups for the following year. Applications for children who will be leaving to attend Reception in September will only be considered in exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis.

4. Can SENDIF funding be continued for a child moving to reception when the EHCP is not due to be completed until later in the autumn term?

No. SENDIF funding would cease at the end of the summer term. The school would be expected to make provision using its notional SEN funding.

5. Parents do not always apply for DLA for their 2 year olds even though they may meet the criteria. How can we get support for these children?

You are encouraged to work with parents to support them to consider applying for DLA if it is appropriate.  Currently the LA cannot offer SENDIF funding for 2 year old children not in receipt of DLA. Providers should contact for further advice.

6. A child has just started at our nursery, and they had SEN inclusion funding awarded by the previous LA. Do we have to apply again?

Once you have had time to observe how the child manages in your setting you should have a clearer idea if the funding is required. You can submit the original application and any accompanying information if you have it to apply to Southwark. Please add any information that you believe will support the application. If you do not have the previous application you will need to follow the normal Southwark process as we are unable to agree SEND inclusion funding based on a different LA’s decision.

7. Can we apply for SENDIF before the child starts with us?

We understand that some children present with very high needs and that in order to prepare for their arrival it would be helpful to have funding in place so that appropriate support can be put in place.

If you have sufficient information about the level of need e.g. professionals’ reports and involvement and the information you gather as part of your usual transition arrangements such as home visit reports, stay and play observations then you can apply beforehand. Please note that funding will only apply from the actual date the child starts attending.

8. We successfully applied for SENDIF but the child moved to another setting what happens?

In the first instance please notify the team immediately to ensure records are kept up to date. If the child moves out of borough or attends a provision in a different borough then the new setting will need to apply to their local scheme. 

If the child moves to another Southwark setting please pass all the records you have including your application to the new setting if you know which setting they have gone to. The new setting can then notify us of the child’s start date with them and the funding would follow the child.

If you get a child start in your setting that you think already has Southwark SEND inclusion funding agreed please contact us let us with their start date and we can check our records.

9. Should we say what level of SENDIF funding we want for an individual child?

Yes. Please fill in the relevant application form for the level of funding you are applying for

If you are making an application for tier one funding, you should then complete the tier one funding (docx, 1.6mb) application form.

If you are making an application for, tier two funding, you should then complete the tier two funding (docx, 1.6mb) application form.

It is possible that in some circumstances the funding awarded differs from the tier requested, e.g., if we think the child needs more support than tier one can provide.

10. We have several children with similar emerging SEN needs e.g. speech and language delay and we want to get some resources and run a group for them. Do we have to apply for each child?

No. It is possible to make a group application for funding where there are several children with similar emerging needs that can be addressed as part of group activities. Group applications may be made for up to 5 children but there must be at least 3 children. Children already in receipt of funding from SENDIF should not be included in group applications. Group applications are limited to a maximum of 4 applications a year per provider. Each group application should be for different area of need to make the best use of the funding by providing a range of resources, training and interventions for the children. Funding for group applications is a one-off payment of £2,000 (actual amount). Please apply using the separate application form that has been designed for group applications.

11. We have a child with medical needs where a medical practitioner (Health Care Assistant/ nurse) is attending with them. Should I apply for an EHC needs assessment or SENDIF?

This will depend on whether the child has additional SEN and if so what level. Where children are supported by a Health Care Assistant they usually will not need a second adult with them at all times.

However, there may be some times when more specialist educational input is needed that a medical professional may not be able to provide e.g. a speech and language programme that requires a trained person to deliver it. In these cases some SEND inclusion funding may be needed.

Some children may have very complex SEN and an EHC needs assessment may be required to identify the type of provision needed to meet their needs in the long term. The professionals involved are likely to be able to advise if this is necessary.

12. Can we apply for SENDIF funding and an EHC needs assessment at the same time?

Yes, but this cannot be done using the SENDIF form.

This is likely to be appropriate for relatively few children at this point as in most cases gaining SEND inclusion funding support allows for interventions to be put in place that may either reduce the need for an assessment, or that would contribute to the evidence you gather later as to the need for assessment.

We recognise that a small number of children may have very high level needs and that delaying assessment is not in their best interest.  If you consider that the SEN the child experiences is of a significant level that would require provision long term beyond expectations of what could be put in place using SENDIF/SEN Support then requesting an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment may be appropriate.

You will need to refer to the Assessment Criteria and complete the EHCP1 form rather than the SENDIF application form. The LA requires more detailed information and evidence to determine if an EHC needs assessment is required than is necessary to offer SENDIF, so you must ensure that you have sufficient appropriate evidence to support the request.

To request an EHC needs assessment it is likely that the professionals involved with the child have indicated that assessment may be needed and you should include any meeting notes and/ or written records to this effect.

Settings may be asked to send in additional information to support the consideration of whether to assess if needed.

13. If I use the EHCP1 form will I still be able to get SENDIF?

Yes. It is helpful to make it clear on the application that you want the panel to decide on both aspects. Please see answers above with regard to evidence required to apply for an EHC needs assessment.

Please note that you may find that;

  • we offer SEND inclusion funding but do not agree the EHC needs assessment at this point
  • you will be asked for additional information to be sent in immediately
  • the panel suggests some actions to be taken before you reapply in the future.

14. We successfully applied for SENDIF for a pupil previously and we now think an EHC needs assessment is the right next step. Do we need to complete the EHCP1 form?

Yes you can request an EHC needs assessment if your monitoring and review of the child’s progress based on the use of the higher level of SENDIF indicates that their difficulties and the provision required to address those matches the EHC assessment criteria.

As we need to know more detail to determine if an EHC needs assessment is required than is necessary to offer SEND inclusion funding you will need to complete the EHCP1 form.

It would be likely that there would be additional information at this point such as updated or new professional involvement and advice.

Please include all the supporting evidence e.g. tracking data, TAC or meeting minutes, observation notes, delivery plans, provision maps, planning records and reviews and amendments (Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycles) as well as any formal reports that may have been completed.  You can use your original SENDIF application as part of this supporting evidence.

15. We applied for an EHC needs assessment and SENDIF previously, we got funding but the assessment wasn’t agreed. Can we apply again now we have new information?

Yes, if the new information is significant and demonstrates that the child’s difficulties and provision required to meet them matches the assessment criteria. Please see question 13 ‘We successfully applied for SENDIF for a pupil previously and we now think an EHC needs assessment is the right next step. Do we need to complete the EHCP1 form?’ for further advice.

16. Is there an example of a completed form we could use to help us?

Yes. We have created an example of what a completed form for tier two funding could include (pdf, 665kb). 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.