How special schools are funded

Learn how special schools receive their funding, including how place funding and top-up funding are allocated.

Last reviewed on 22 August 2023See updates
School types: SpecialSchool phases: AllRef: 32511
  1. Special schools are funded from the high needs block
  2. Place funding is allocated to an institution
  3. Top-up funding is in addition to place funding
  4. Pupil premium
  5. Teachers' pay additional grant for 2023-24

Special schools are funded from the high needs block

High needs funding:

  • Supports provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) 
  • Is provided to local authorities (LAs) through the high needs block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG)

This is explained in the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) high needs funding operational guide for 2022 to 2023 (see paragraphs 6 and 7).

Special schools receive core funding (or ‘place funding’) and top-up funding from this block. Read about these in sections 2 and 3 below.

Place funding is allocated to an institution

Place funding, or 'element 2':

  • Includes the funding pupils attract for their core education
  • Provides a contribution to the additional costs associated with a support package


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