Early Years’ SEND Inclusion Funding (SENIF) Guidance

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The Early Years SEND Inclusion Funding (SENIF) supports providers to meet the needs of individual children with SEND. The SENIF must be used to offer opportunities that are additional to and different from ‘Ordinarily Available Provision’(OAP).

SENIF should be used alongside Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and Disability Access Funding(DAF) for eligible 3 and 4 year olds to make reasonable adjustments as required by the Equalities Act 2010. DAF and EYPP can be applied for through the Early Years Provider Portal.

Funding allocated through SENIF must be used as outlined in the providers application and detailed on the Provision Map. Any changes in reallocating the funding must be approved by the Council.

SENIF is available to support children who meet the criteria and access the Early Years Entitlement Funding as follows: 

  • 2 year old funding available for some children if eligible, for up to 15 hours per week
  • 3 and 4 year old funding for all children for up to 15 hours per week
  • 3 and 4 year old children accessing up to 30 hours per week 

If a 2 year old child needing additional SEN support is not in receipt of Early Years Entitlement Funding, please contact your area Early Years Team Manager to discuss further. 

It is essential to monitor children’s progress (EYFS Statutory Framework and the DfE SEND Code of Practice 2014) and providers should use the graduated approach to meet a child’s needs. Further support can be found on Cumberland's SEND Local Offer and Cumberland Council's - Early Years website.

The application process for SENIF

The application form is a WORD document to be saved and shared with parents and the Council. Applications must be sent via either secure email (Egress) to SENDSubmission@cumberland.gov.uk or through the Early Years SEND link on the schools portal which will reduce the need for any printed hard copies. 

To provide a clear outline of the child’s needs and progress you must include the following in your request: 

There are 3 levels of funding that may be awarded for one academic year as follows for children accessing 570 hours per academic year: 

  • Level 1 - £1,000 per year (£1.75 per hour)
  • Level 2 - £1,500 per year (£2.63 per hour)
  • Level 3 - £2,000 per year (£3.51 per hour)

Applications will be considered by a panel which will include representatives from the Early Years Team, Educational Psychology and Health. The level of funding awarded will be based on the information provided in the application and the level of need of the child. 

The funding will be paid on a termly basis for 1 year.

For a child accessing up to 30 hours per week the funding will be at pro-rata rate dependent on hours attended. Likewise, a part time child not using their full entitlement would receive a pro-rata amount. 

The amounts paid per term will vary dependent upon the number of weeks in a term and the hours accessed by the child hours claimed on the ‘Actual’ task each term. Funding may be backdated to the start of the term when the application was approved by panel if the child is eligible, and it is evident that additional support has already been provided and paid for as detailed on the Provision Map.

SENIF funding will cease if an Educational Health Care Plan is issued. 

If a child attends more than one setting each setting must apply separately.  If a child moves setting the funding will cease and the new setting will need to re-apply as the funding does not move with the child.

Applications for funding must be received by the dates below: 

  • 31st October 2023 for funding to commence September or January (depending on age of child)
  • 9th February 2024 for funding to commence January or April (depending on age of child)
  • 31st May 2024 for funding to commence April or September (depending on age of child) 

(Please note, applications received after the deadlines above will not be considered until the following panel.) 

All applications will be considered by the Early Years SENIF Panel. Providers will be notified of the outcome of the panel decisions.

Criteria for SENIF funding does not require involvement from an Area SENCO or EYSAT. However, if you wish to request an AREA SENCO/EYSAT please ensure you include LA Specialist Support Request Appendix 2 [WORD 35.9KB]

As part of the application process the panel when considering individual applications may recommend as a condition of funding that the provider receives support from an Area SENCO. 

It is acknowledged that there may be an occasional exceptional circumstance when some of the above documentation may not be available for example, a child with complex needs due to start a setting. In this instance, please contact your area Early Years Team Manager to discuss further the process to follow.


Each setting should evaluate the funding at the end of each term by updating the provision map and the progress and assessment document showing how the funding has been used and the impact.  There is no requirement to submit this paperwork every term to the local authority, but it may be requested as part of an audit process.

A review of SENIF will take place in the summer term and you will be asked to provide information on the use and impact of the SENIF as part of this review.

If during the year the Manager/setting SENCO thinks a level of support for a child is no longer adequate for his/her need or if the child’s attendance hours have changed, the provider needs to contact LIS.BusinessSupport@cumberland.gov.uk

If a child in receipt of funding moves to another setting you must inform business support on LIS.BusinessSupport@cumberland.gov.uk

Page last reviewed: 10/04/2024

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