SEND Funding for Specialist Providers


We would expect mainstream schools to meet the needs of pupils with SEND that are predictable through the resources they have which are described in the previous section - what is known as ‘ordinarily available provision’. Learn more about 'ordinarily available provision.' It is also the case that mainstream schools may be able to support the needs of pupils who have needs that are considered ‘exceptional’ and where ‘ordinarily available provision’ would not be sufficient to meet need. Many mainstream schools make provision for pupils with exceptional needs who will have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). 


However, for the minority of pupils with SEND, where their needs are so complex and where their needs cannot be reasonably met in mainstream provision Sutton has a range of ‘specialist provision’. Young people must have an EHCP to attend a specialist provision and all specialist provision is funded by the High Needs Block of the DSG (see previous section).


Broadly speaking there are the following types of specialist provision available:

  • Opportunity Resource Bases (bases within mainstream school settings)

  • State funded special schools (Maintained or Academy)

  • Non-maintained Independent provision


Often we refer to this as ‘commissioned provision’. 


Opportunity Resource Bases

Opportunity Resource bases are within mainstream schools but this is ‘commissioned provision’ that is funded in a different way. All pupils are placed in resource bases by the local authority; they are for pupils that have an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Each commissioned place is funded at £10k per place - this is often understood to include ‘Element 1’ funding of £4k from the school’s basic entitlement funding and a further ‘Element 2’ sum of £6,000 for the number of places that are commissioned by Sutton each year. In addition a further ‘top up’ - known as element 3 funding - is also applied. Element 1 and 2 funding is provided by the home Local Authority, Element 3 funding by the local authority where the pupil lives.


State funded Special Schools (Maintained or Academy)

Special schools receive Element 1 and Element 2 funding together (£10,000) for the number of places commissioned by the Local Authority every year. The number of places is agreed with the local authority each year and this includes places used by pupils from other areas.

In addition top up or Element 3 funding is provided to special schools. This is from the local authority where the pupil lives.

The Local Area is in the process of considering how we can fund specialist provision in a more consistent and coherent way and will be bringing forward proposals to Schools Forum which are intended to take effect from September 2021 (with transitional arrangements in place).


Non-maintained Independent provision (NMI)

NMI schools are independent schools which are not maintained by the Local Authority and are not Academies. 

NMI special schools charge fees which cover all the costs associated with running the school and making the specific provision for each individual child or young person placed there. They do not therefore receive Element 1, 2 or 3 funding in the same way as other schools. 

You can find details of NMI schools in Sutton and elsewhere here by searching the Get Information about Schools website.



24/03/2021, 15:34:28