School top-up funding for SEN and High Needs Matrix

Mainstream schools already have some funding built into their budgets to meet a wide variety of special educational needs (SEN) (up to £6,000 per pupil). If individual pupils need a higher level of funding to meet their needs, Herefordshire Council uses its High Needs Matrix to establish what, if any, additional funding is required to meet the individual child or young person's needs. This is called top-up funding or high needs funding.

The High Needs Matrix is used to support the decision making for all allocations of additional education funding for special educational needs regardless of the setting.

Funding can be agreed for one, two or three terms at a time depending on circumstances. It is paid termly.

View the tariffs for the High Needs Matrix 2023.

It is the responsibility of the setting to keep track of funding and re-apply if appropriate before the funding period runs out.

For pupils with Education, Health and Care plans (EHC plans), the level of funding will be determined as part of the EHC assessment process and there is no need for schools to apply separately. For pupils without EHC plans, schools will need to make an application for top-up funding.

When we allocate high needs funding

We allocate Element 3 funding using the High Needs Matrix for:

  • Statutory assessment based on the information provided
  • The annual review process - the school, college or setting should ensure that the recommendation for an amendment to funding is evidence based
  • Top-up funding for children and young people without a statutory plan

To ensure that we are consistent in our decision-making, requests for top-up funding are considered by representatives who sit on the Herefordshire Referral Panel. This panel advises us on whether a statutory assessment is required.

Help with using the High Needs Matrix

If you need more help or clarification on the use of the High Needs Matrix, please call the SEN Team on 01432 260869 or email