FOI release

SEN funding

A request and disclosure of information about the cost of education for SEN pupils.



  • Date requested: 23 June 2010
  • Publish date: 28 June 2010
  • Updated: 11 January 2011


Can the Department provide data pertaining to the cost of fees/education for SEN pupils in:

1. full-time specialist schools - private or state
2. support in mainstream schools - private or state
3. residential versus day care.


There is a wide variation in the cost of funding for individual pupils as it is dependent upon the individual needs of a child.

For pupils placed in non-maintained special schools or independent schools the question of the fees to be paid are a matter between the LA responsible for maintaining the child’s statement and the school at which the child is placed.

Funding is delegated to LAs who determine how to distribute the funding in accordance with their own local funding formula agreed in consultation with their schools’ forum.

The Department for Education can disclose that:

  • planned expenditure on the provision for pupils with special educational needs during the 2009-10 financial year was almost £5.2 billion.
  • of the £5.2 billion: £2.1 billion was delegated to mainstream schools; £1.6 billion was delegated to maintained special schools; and £612 million was spent on placing children with SEN statements at independent and non-maintained special schools.

The department does not hold any more detailed level of data.

Published 28 June 2010