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Early Years Funding - Exceptional Needs Funding

Eligibility is when a child accesses a 2yr old placement through to the term prior to Year R entry (i.e. end of Nursery 2). Beyond this, requests will be in exceptional circumstances e.g. if a child remains in the pre-school and continues to meet the criteria within Bedford Borough Council’s ‘Guidance on Meeting Special Educational Needs in the Early Years Foundation Stage’.


In order to establish the type of support required, it is essential that the setting provides a summary of need with evidence gained through the “Assess, Plan, Do & Review” cycle, as outlined in the SEN Code of Practice 2014. This should be provided in conjunction with advice from relevant professionals who know the child. Professional advice must be reflected within the child’s IEPs/ Support Plans.


Funding is at a universal rate of £9.14 per hour & is used for all top-up payments.


Exceptional needs funding is only for the very small percentage of children who have severe or complex Special Education Needs and Disability:

  • Children who are likely to need additional support throughout their school career because of a significant disability requiring the support of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Children who demonstrate extreme, sustained / unpredictable behaviour which at times endangers themselves or those around them.

Settings with a child who meets the exceptional needs descriptors are eligible to apply for funding to assist in employing a member of staff (up to a maximum of 30 hours per week for those children entitled to 30 hours three year old Nursery Education Funding and a maximum of 15 hours per week for two year olds.)

The evidence required for each child includes:

  • Completed “Request for Early Years Funding for children with Additional Needs” form.
  • Copies of IEPs/Support plans - showing evidence of a current IEP/Support plan plus at least one reviewed IEP/Support plan where possible
  • All relevant supporting evidence; e.g. An Initial Assessment Report (Early Years Support Team), Record of Visit (Early Years Support Team), Drop In consultation report (EYST Team) or Advisory Teachers (Sensory & Communication Support Team) ; Speech and Language Therapist report; Physiotherapist report, Paediatric report etc. (reports must not be more than 12 months old)

New funding requests: All relevant professional reports MUST be provided and accompanied with the completed form: ‘Request for Early Years Funding for children with Additional Needs’.

‘Continuation’ requests: Reviewed and new IEPs/ Support Plans MUST be provided and accompanied with the completed form ‘Request for Early Years Funding for children with Additional Needs’.

Funding support is allocated on a termly basis.

How to Apply

This information should be forwarded to Fiona Wilson (School Support Services, Borough Hall) or the Early Years and Childcare Team (Borough Hall) as appropriate.

Teams can be contacted for further advice as follows:

Early Years Support Team 01234 290770

Sensory & Communication Support Team 01234 300710

Early Years and Childcare Team 01234 276179

All applications will be considered at the appropriate Bedford Borough Panel. The panels will make decisions regarding the level of funding available based on the information included within the application.

Please note that the panels are unable to consider requests for retrospective funding. Application deadlines must be adhered to and further information regarding this can be sought from the relevant team. 


Other Details

Age Bands
Parents and carers
0-4 years old