16 to 19 education: high needs funding

Responsibilities for institutions providing education to high needs students aged 16 or over.

This guidance was withdrawn on

This page contains information related to the 2015 to 2016 academic year. Please visit our high needs funding arrangements page for the most up to date information.

High needs funding

This guidance gives information about high needs funding information to local authorities and institutions, including academies, for high needs students aged 16 to 18, or 19 to 25 with a learning difficulty assessment (LDA) and / or education, health and care plan (EHCP).

Information for young people with high needs aged 19 and above without an LDA and / or EHCP is available on the Skills Funding Agency website.

Approved list of independent special institutions and market entry

Approved list of independent special institutions

The Children and Families Act 2014 will improve services for children and families. Section 41 of the Act allows the Secretary of State, by order, to publish a list of approved independent special institutions (Independent Special Schools – England and Wales and Special Post-16 institutions) for the purposes of satisfying Section 38 (Preparation of an Education, Health and Care plan by local authorities) of the Act. The approved list can be found at GOV.UK.

Independent special institutions wishing to apply to be included on the Secretary of State’s approved list will find the Application Form, Guidance and supporting information available at GOV.UK.

High needs funding due dilligence process

The high needs students due dilligence process is for those institutions wishing to apply to receive an EFA education and training contract for services to deliver education and training for high needs students. Institutions wishing to be considered under the process and are in scope should read the 2015 to 2016 academic year contract for services and, if they agree to be bound by the terms and conditions, email a completed application to

High needs funding allocations

In this section you will find information on high needs funding allocations for each academic year including process documents and place numbers.

Academic year 2015 to 2016

Academic year 2014 to 2015

Academic year 2013 to 2014 and 2012 to 2013

Post-16 transitional protection

2015 to 2016

Information relating to transitional protection for specialist provision for 2015 to 2016 is avaialable on GOV.UK

2014 to 2015

Information relating to transitional protection for specialist provision for 2014 to 2015 is available on GOV.UK. It sets out how transitional protection will work in 2014 to 2015 and gives examples of how institutions may be protected.

2013 to 2014

In the interests of transparency, EFA has published a workbook - Post-16 transitional protection (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 28.2KB) - detailing institutions that have received transitional protection funding during the 2013 to 2014 academic year, in line with our published arrangements.

The publication of this information is not relevant to commissioning and placements decisions of individual students and should not be used by local authorities to inform their decisions on contracting arrangements and funding levels with individual institutions.

Special educational needs and disability (SEND)

The SEND reforms were introduced in September 2014 and introduce a new approach that seeks to join up help across education, health and care from birth to age 25. Help will be offered at the earliest possible point, with children and young people with SEND and their parents or carers fully involved in decisions about their support and what they want to achieve. This will help lead to better outcomes and more efficient ways of working.

Resources are available to support local authorities, institutions, young people and parents understand what the reforms mean for them, including guides and a SEN Code of Practice.

Non-maintained special schools and independent specialist provider contracts

In July 2015, non-maintained special schools and special post-16 institutions received an EFA funding agreement for 2015 to 2016 academic year.

The EFA contract is for element 1 and 2 funding only. Local authorities will have in place their own contracts for element 3 ‘top up’ funding.


Academies can access funding information on GOV.UK.

Published 11 March 2014
Last updated 8 September 2015 + show all updates
  1. Non-maintained special schools and independent specialist provider contracts updated for 2015 to 2016.
  2. added link to transitional protection guide for 2015 to 2016
  3. Added updated ILR field list link
  4. Reminder for closing date for 2015 to 2016 high needs student place number exceptional cases.
  5. Amendments to post 16 transitional protection and attachment added.
  6. Added link to ILR technical note
  7. Added information about high needs students market entry.
  8. First published.