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We are pleased to be able to bring you some good news about the current Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENDIF). The fund started in 2017 and since that time has supported many of you across the borough to meet a diverse range of children’s needs, but we are aware that there is also room for improvement.

We are now embarking on a period of transition and a review of the fund to ensure that it is sustainable, impactful and fit for purpose as the new expansion of childcare offer takes effect and the scope of the fund widens. The new Early Years Inclusion Fund (EYIF) will be fully launched in September 2024

What is improving?

We want to ensure that we continue to use the fund to achieve the maximum positive impact. Our aim is to refresh the focus of the fund to prioritise inclusion for all in early years and support you as providers to become confident and well equipped to meet the needs of every child joining your setting.

An increase in the size of the fund

In January, Schools Forum, agreed to an increase in the value of the fund from £250,000 to approx. £600,000. This will take effect from April 2024. This brings our borough in line with others of a similar size and demographic, provides more opportunity to address the needs of a growing number of young children, as well as allowing us to widening the scope of the fund to me the needs of children from 9 months old plus (as part of the expansion in childcare offer).

Easier access

We will be streamlining the process of application to move it from the current paper based process to more secure and accessible online process. This new online platform will improve the experience for you as providers and make the application process clearer and easier. It will also provide more accurate reporting information for us as a Local Authority that will help us to help you more effectively.

Additional support for meeting needs 

We want to ensure that every provider is equip and confident to meet the needs of every child in their setting and recognise that extra support would help achieve this aim. Therefore we will be; 

  • introducing a new role that will have direct responsibility for providing support to PVI providers to meet the needs of children who require additional help to access the full range of learning on offer
  • creating bespoke support for those providers with significantly higher numbers of children with complex needs, to enable them to continue to deliver high quality sustainable provision

More timely payments

We are speeding up our payments to you for successful applications, to help you manage your budgets. We understand that timely payments are important and moving forwards our target is that all payments will be made no later than 2 weeks after the panel has taken place.  

New direct contact email

We have created a new email inbox to ensure that all your early years inclusion questions are answered in a timely way to make the best use of your time. You can start contacting the team via this new inbox with immediate effect at Also for the panels that will be taking in place in March, May and July please send your applications to this inbox to ensure they are processed quickly. We will be using this inbox until the new online system is up and running in September. 

Improved communication   

We will keep you updated on our progress as we implement the improvements and we hope you will feel the benefits of these soon. But we also want to hear from you with any suggestions you may have for improvements to the way we do things. Email us with your ideas at