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Early Years Special Educational Needs (SEN) Inclusion Funding


Is your child eligible for additional funding to support them in their Early Years setting?

Local authorities are required to have SENIFs for children with special educational needs (SEN) who are taking up the free entitlements, regardless of the number of hours taken. These funds are intended to support local authorities to work with providers to address the needs of individual children with SEN.


Your child may be eligible to receive support from the Early Years SEN Inclusion Fund if they:

  • Are in receipt of the Free Entitlement to Early Learning (FEEL) funding* and attend a child-minder, PVI setting or nursery school/ school in Royal Greenwich.

* For further information on whether a child is entitled to the Free Entitlement to Early Learning (FEEL) provision click on the RBG Children Families Directory link Early Learning and Childcare


The Guidance- Early years entitlements: local authority funding operational guide 2024 to 2025 states that local authorities should target SENIFs at children with lower level or emerging SEN.

‘Children with more complex needs and those in receipt of an education, health and care plan (EHC plan) continue to be eligible to receive funding via the high needs block of the DSG’

Early Years SEN Inclusion Funding (for low and emerging needs) is available to enable the inclusion of any funded children with additional needs and /or disabilities in Greenwich settings. It is designed to provide financial support to increase staffing ratios or provide resources in the setting to meet children’s needs. The provider will need to apply to the SEN Inclusion Fund to describe and supply evidence of the nature of the child’s additional needs, how this creates a barrier to their inclusion with the setting and why additional funding/ staffing is required to support the child.

SEN Inclusion Fund- Easy Read

Children with established SEND needs can apply for an EHCP, typically once they have had a period of support in school/nursery. The above funding is in place to support children with emerging needs, or a lower level of SEND over a longer period of time. Due to the different processes in place in neighbouring Boroughs the following is a guide as to when this should happen:


Typically, applications will be made for children who have more complex needs and may require an Education Health and Care Plan in a timely manner ahead of accessing primary school at a point when the setting has good quality information to support an NA 1 request. We would expect the setting to be working towards submitting an NA1 request for an EHCP assessment to the SEN Assessment and Review Service as soon as they have the required evidence of response to interventions etc (but definitely before the 3rd review). If this does not happen, it will be assumed that you do not think she/ he needs this level of support on an on-going basis, and the level of funding is likely to be reduced.


Children who reside out of the borough with complex needs who continue to require a higher level of support following a 12-week cycle of intervention, will follow the system for applying for a Needs assessment in their Borough of residence.  The child’s early years setting will be expected to request a Needs Assessment (NA1) from the Local Authority the child resides in. If this does not happen, it will be assumed that the setting do not think the child needs this level of support on an on-going basis, and the level of funding will cease, unless the child only requires interventions to be put in place at Band 2.

To find out more about the current system in neighbouring boroughs please click on SEND Local Offer link below:

Bexley- SEN Inclusion Fund.

Bromley- SEN Inclusion Fund.

Lewisham- SEN Inclusion Fund.


How can my child be referred?

All early years’ settings are expected to meet the needs of most children from within their own nursery resources, with appropriately differentiated planning (this includes providing support within the normal setting ratio of staff)

If, however, you and the professionals involved agree that your child may require additional support, the nursery or other professionals can make an application for SEN Inclusion Funding. These professionals may include:

  • the early years’ setting including child-minders
  • any professional working with your child and family.
  • All applications/ reviews should be emailed to the Early Years SEN Inclusion Fund at:

 SENIF/ DAF Information Pack