Apply for additional funding for pupils with very complex needs

Apply for additional funding for pupils with very complex needs

What ‘top up’ funding is for, who can apply for it and how to apply.

The May Top Up Panel arrangements will be virtual.

The details will be sent directly to panel members.

This is because of the government guidelines on public gatherings and social distancing.

If a pupil in your education setting has very complex needs and requires specialist help to make progress with their education, you can apply for additional funding. This is called 'element 3' or 'top up' funding. 

You must only use top up funding to provide support for the pupil you request it for. This can include:

  • therapeutic interventions 
  • highly specialised resources, such as social communication and interaction groups, specialised speech and language therapy or IT modifications 

Apply for top up funding

Only the pupil’s education setting can apply for top up funding. 

To apply for top up funding for the 2020-21 school year, you need to:

Find an example of a support plan on our guide to SEND support

All applications need to include a completed Top Up Funding application form. If you're using a Support Plan template which includes a costed and evaluated provision map it isn't necessary to duplicate by completing the costed provision map proforma, within the Top Up application form.

Your application must be submitted by 4pm, Friday 28 May 2021, but can be submitted earlier to

The application will be assessed by panels held daily from 14 June 2021 for two weeks. All applications will be assessed, including: 

  • special schools 
  • resource bases
  • mainstream schools 

If you're submitting an application to panel, you're expected to attend one of the panel days, email your availability to

All Top Up submissions received, on or before the submission deadline, will be reviewed.

You'll be notified of the decision within 10 working days of  the last panel held.

Upcoming Top Up dates for 2021

October 2021

Applications must be submitted by 4pm, Friday 22 October 2021
Applications will be assessed by panels held daily from 08th November 2021 for two weeks.