Shropshire Council

Funding for early years SEND

Local authorities must ensure that all providers delivering funded early education places meet the needs of children with SEN and disabled children. In order to do this, we need to make sure that funding arrangements for early education reflect the need to provide suitable support for these children (Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 0-25).

Early years providers should consider how best to use their resources to support the progress of children with SEN. The support and intervention provided should be selected to meet the outcomes identified for the child, based on reliable evidence of effectiveness, and provided by practitioners with relevant skills and knowledge. Any related staff development needs should be identified and addressed.

There are two grants available, as described below.

The access to education grant

Supports children with complex SEN and disabilities (highly likely to have been identified at birth or soon after) who are receiving free early years education (including funding for two year olds). It's anticipated that children in receipt of this grant will go on to have an education, health and care plan in the near future.

What's it to be used for?

To support children who require additional support to access their early years entitlement. This grant supplements the standard hourly rate of funding under the Free Early Education Entitlement. It applies to the full offer (15 hours or 30 hours), provided either in term time or flexibly. Funding is available to support children who are resident in Shropshire regardless of where they access their entitlement.

The early entitlement grant

This is for children identified as having special educational needs, children for whom support and professional advice has been sought and specialist interventions recommended. This includes advice from speech therapy services, the Child Development Centre, the SEND Early Years team, occupational therapy/physiotherapist etc.

What's it to be used for?

Implementing support and intervention strategies additional to or different from what's normally provided by the setting to children of the same age. The support and interventions must be closely linked to the outcomes for the child agreed by parents, the setting and professionals involved with the child. The support and interventions must be delivered by a member of staff with relevant skills and knowledge.

Who can apply?

  • Private, voluntary and independent early years settings
  • Maintained nursery classes


Funding is agreed on a term by term basis. Applications are assessed by a small panel of professionals who are experienced in recognising the needs of children with a wide range of disabilities. It's recommended that you contact the Shropshire SEND Early Years Team prior to submitting an application for a child. Applicants are expected to identify the particular needs of any child for whom funding is requested, and to demonstrate clearly how any funding will help meet those needs. Providers will, with parental permission, send evidence of any professional support which has been received in respect of the child for whom the application is being made.

The type of information that you should include with your application includes:

  • Costed provision map - this is where you break down exactly what it is you want to do with the funding using the advice strategies and identified outcomes to plan the child’s timetable and support required. Take a look at our example map, which shows you how it should be used
  • Child’s learning plan (old IEP)
  • Evidence of plan, do review cycle
  • Feedback/targets from CDC/SALT/Health Visitors etc
  • Shropshire language chart
  • If the request is for a child who, without support, would be unable to access the setting, please evidence using documentation from relevant professions, ie doctor's/ consultant's letter, SIS referral portage etc.

When you've compiled this information, you're ready to complete the relevant application form:

Funding and payments

It will be for applicants to decide upon the amount requested each term. The panel will agree either full, part or no payment depending on the information provided in the application form. The outcomes of panel meetings will be communicated to applicants within 14 days of the meeting taking place. You'll have a visit from the SEND Early Years team, who will help identify a baseline from which we can support you to monitor the child’s development and the impact the funding is having. Successful applicants will then be required to invoice us in order to receive payment, and full details of this process will be included in the letter confirming the outcome of the application.

Applications for funding for future terms will then need to show how the funding has been spent, the progress made by the child as a result of the interventions and the new targets set for that child for the future. You're not required to resubmit any information or evidence already submitted, but you may want to refer to it in the future. Our repeat grant application form should be used for future funding applications. 

Requests should be returned to or posted to SEN Support, SEND team, 2nd floor Shirehall, Abbey Forgate, SY2 6ND

Forthcoming panel meetings

All applications are reviewed by the Early Years Early Intervention Panel which meets regularly. This panel includes the early years SEND lead, an early years improvement adviser and a representative from Children Therapy Services.

Contact for any additional support/advice.