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Early Years Funding - Exceptional Needs Funding

Eligibility is when a child accesses a two yer old placement through to the term prior to  Reception year entry (i.e. end of Nursery two). 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 £10.86 from 1st April 2023.

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:

All relevant supporting evidence some examples are listed below if you have any questions regarding evidence contact details are below

An Initial Assessment report (Early Years Support Team),

Record of Visit (Early Years Support Team),

Virtual support and next steps record of consultation  (Drop In Consultation      report  EYST Team) or Advisory Teacher’s Report (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:

‘Continuation’ requests:

Funding support is allocated on a termly basis.

How to Apply

Please forward your completed form and supporting evidence  be email  to 

The below teams can be contacted for further advice as follows:

Early Years Support Team 01234 718123

Sensory & Communication Support Team 01234 718122

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. 


Who to contact


Other Details

Age Bands
Parents and carers
0-4 years old