Early Years SEND Funding

Early Years Provisions can access a variety of further funding to support children with learning and developmental delay and SEND. This page provides an outline of the funding options available in the Early Years and guidance on how to apply and access these.

Disability Access Fund (DAF)

If a child is aged three or four and is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the setting can apply for the Disability Access Fund (DAF).

The purpose of DAF is to support early years settings to make initial reasonable adjustments and to build the capacity of their setting to support disabled children. DAF is a one-off payment of £615 per year.

If a child is splitting their FEEE across two providers, the parent will be required to confirm in writing to the local authority which school or setting they nominate as the main setting and who will receive DAF funding. This information is recorded by the parent on their parental declaration form.

Full details about claiming DAF funding can be found in Section 1.11 of the FEEE Financial Guidance 21-22. To claim DAF for a child at your setting, send a copy of the child’s disability award letter and parental declaration form to childcare@walthamforest.gov.uk.

SEN Inclusion Fund (SENIF)

The SEN Inclusion Fund (SENIF) is funding available to early years providers for supporting children with learning and developmental delay or SEND.  The funding is for use in the early years provision that the child attends and will be paid to the provider to be used to support the needs of the identified individual child.  

Funding will move with the child if they are to change provisions, provided the new provision is still in Waltham Forest, this needs to be considered if employing additional staff. It is the Early Years Provision’s responsibility to notify EYSEND.PANEL@walthamforest.gov.uk if a child in receipt of SENIF leaves the provision, please include the date the child left.

Eligibility for the funding

  • 2-year olds and 3 and 4 year olds and taking up their FEEE place.
  • Attending an early years provision in the London Borough of Waltham Forest
  • Presenting with additional needs in the moderate to profound delay range with over six months of developmental delay.

Process for applying for funding

Download the Applying for SENIF’ document below for more information regarding the application process.


SENIF Panel dates January 2022 to June 2022

The SEN Inclusion Fund Panel will be held monthly from January 2022. Please see below for the dates of the panel meetings and the last date applications/supporting documents need to be submitted by to be considered at panel.

Date of Panel

Last Date to Submit Application and Supporting Documentation for the Panel

Week commencing 31 January 2022

Friday 21 January 2022

Week commencing 28 February 2022

Friday 18 January 2022

Week commencing 28 March 2022

Friday 18 March 2022

Week commencing 25 April 2022

Thursday 14 April 2022

Week commencing 23 May 2022

Friday 13 May 2022

Week commencing 27 June 2022

Friday 17 June 2022

Week Commencing 18 July 2022

Friday 8 July 2022 *










*Please note, there will not be a SENIF Panel in August 2022. The Panel will meet again in September 2022

Please ensure all applications are completed in full and on the current SENIF application form. The Panel are unable to consider incomplete applications, these will be sent back to you and you will be asked to resend the complete application. Please be aware this may lead to a delay in funding being approved. It is paramount we receive fully completed applications to meet GDPR requirements and to ensure an accurate decision is made with regards to the support required to meet the needs of the child.

SEND Inclusion Funding Prior to a Child’s Start Date

Where SENIF applications are made from professionals outside of the Early Years provision a child is due to be attending, or applications made before a child starts at a provision, if funding is felt to be appropriate, this will generally be approved for two months. 

This is to support the transition period, enable the child to settle into the new provision and for the provision to get to know the child; their strengths, areas for additional support etc. and to put an Early Years Support Plan in place. Provisions are then asked to complete a SENIF Review Application form prior to the funding end date, as by this point, it is expected the provision will be able to provide further information due to them having a better understanding of the child.  This process is to support the child and the provision and to prevent a barrier for the child starting at the nursery whilst waiting for funding.

Allocation of the funding

Decisions about whether to allocate funding and the amount of Additional Hourly Rate Top Up Funding are made by the Early Years, Childcare and Business Development Service.  They will assess the information provided in the application and make a decision against level of developmental delay in the three prime areas of the EYFS and any additional health needs. 

A SENIF Decision form will be sent to the referrer. The decision of the amount of funding is final and no amendments will be considered within the period it has been agreed. It is the early years provisions responsibility to ensure the recommendations are implemented and parents/carers are informed.

SENIF Funding Levels

What are the Additional Hourly Rate Top Up Funding Levels and what are they based on?

The Additional Hourly Rate Top Up Funding approved will be based on the child’s learning and developmental delay in the three prime areas of the EYFS. Children who have 0-6 months learning and developmental delay will be expected to be supported in the setting through the graduated approach.

Children who have a learning and developmental delay of seven months or higher in one of more of the prime areas can access the Additional Top Up Funding at Levels from 1 to 4 based on the level of delay. Funding will be based on the area with the most developmental delay. Details of this can be found in the table below.







0 - 6 Months






7 - 12 Months

Level 1




 £45.00 (£90.00 per wk 30hrs per week)

13 - 24 Months

Level 2




 £75.00 (£150.00 per wk 30hrs per week)

25+ Months

Level 3




 £105.00 (£210.00 per wk 30hrs per week)

Profound and Multiple Learning Disability

Level 4




 £150.00 (£300.00 per wk 30hrs per week)

The level of developmental delay will be based on the settings most recent assessments (outlined on the SENIF Application form) and the SEND Support Plan.


Payments of the allocated funding

Additional Hourly Rate Top Up Funding may be approved, in principle, until the end of the academic year, a start date and end date will be included on the SENIF Decision Form, along with the level of funding agreed.  All payments will be based on the child’s actual hours of attendance.

The payments are made on a monthly basis, based on the start and end date on the SENIF Decision Form.  Any missed payments will be backdated in the next payment run the following month. These payments will be reconciled at the end of term.

Use of the allocated funding

The funding is to support the inclusion of a child with learning and developmental delay or SEND, promote early intervention and improve outcomes for the child.

Examples of how early years providers can use the SENIF include:

  • Build capacity within the early years provision with additional staffing to support specific interventions/strategies for the child
  • Specialist or one-off training to upskill whole team or staff member(s)
  • Enhance ratios in order to support the child

The use of the allocated funding will be monitored by the Early Years and Childcare Team’s Area SENCOs, EYs SEND Advisor and Early Years Advisory Teacher.

Local Authority SENIF Monitoring

Continuation of funding until the end of the 2021-2022 Academic year will be subject to the satisfactory completion of local authority monitoring. local authority monitoring will comprise of; randomly selecting settings/children to complete and submit a SENIF Review Application form, as well as an up to date My Early Years Support plan and any other supporting documents to evidence the effective implementation of this.  Documents submitted as part of the local authority monitoring process will be reviewed by the SENIF Panel.

Allocated Area SENCOs and EYs SEND Advisors will also be monitoring the use of SENIF during visits to settings as part of the local authority monitoring process.

It is the Early Years Provision’s responsibility to inform the Early Years and Childcare Team  immediately if a child leaves a provision and/or if they make significant progress which means they no-longer require SENIF, or if the level of funding needs to be reduced EYSEND.Panel@walthamforest.gov.uk.

Any settings requesting a higher level of funding must submit a SENIF Review Application form and supporting evidence, explaining the reasons why they believe the child requires a higher level of funding.

It is the Early Years provisions responsibility to apply for an extension of funding if required, at which point a SENIF Review form should be submitted the month before the funding end date. It may also be necessary to consider applying for an EHCP.

For further information please speak to your allocated Area SENCO if you are a PVI, or your Childminder Development Worker, if you’re a childminder.  If you need any further support or have any questions about the SEN Inclusion Fund email EYSEND.Panel@walthamforest.gov.uk.

Last update: Wednesday 18th of May 2022 09:05:11 AM