SEND Funding in Essex Schools

The government gives money to Essex County Council for it to distribute to all Essex maintained schools and academies. This money is what makes up the school’s budget and is called an Individual School Budget (ISB).

Mainstream schools and academies

There are three main elements to SEND funding. These are used together to support pupils with SEND.

Age weighted pupil unit (AWPU)

The first element is the money paid for all pupils on a school’s roll. This is the age weighted pupil unit funding.  It makes up the biggest part of a school’s budget.

Notional SEN fund

The second element is the Notional SEN fund, which also makes up part of the school’s budget.  This is used to support pupils with SEND.  The fund is used for pupils accessing SEN Support, and to meet the first £6,000 of support for pupils who have an EHCP or IPRA.

The value of the fund is not based on the number of pupils on a school’s SEND register.  It is based on indicators of need such as income deprivation, low prior attainment and free school meal entitlement.

Pupil top-up funding

The third element is pupil top-up funding.  This is money paid to schools for a pupil with an EHCP or IPRA.  The money is used to support the outcomes in the pupil’s EHCP.  If a pupil moves from one Essex mainstream school to another, this money will transfer with them.

Individual Pupil Resourcing Agreement (IPRA)

An IPRA is funding which schools can apply for to support pupils with SEND, without having to carry out a statutory assessment and then issue an EHCP.

IPRAs are used to fund targeted support for pupils with medical needs or to support school transitions. Read more on IPRA on the Essex Schools Info Link.

Special schools and academies

Special schools and academies receive place funding of £10,000 for every place commissioned by Essex County Council. Place funding gives schools a guaranteed level of funding and is not taken back if a school has less pupils on roll than the commissioned number.

Essex County Council pays pupil top-up funding for each Essex pupil on roll.  The amount of this is based on the individual needs of the pupil.

Pupil premium

Pupil premium is extra funding for all maintained schools and academies to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. ​ Read more on pupil premium on the Essex Schools Info Link.


Operational locations

  • Essex