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Special Educational Needs (SEN) Premium

This is a top-up fund for childcare settings to help meet a child’s needs. It is only for children who get the free early education entitlement for three-and four-year olds. This would be up to 15 hours or 30 hours if the child is eligible.

Your childcare setting may receive SEN Premium if:

  • the child has SEN or a disability
  • the Health Authority sends a Section 23 Notice
  • the child also gets the free early education entitlement for three-and-four-year olds

The Preschool Allocations Panel (PAP)

You don’t have to apply for the SEN Premium. The PAP allocates the funding and will decide if a child is eligible.


The PAP will ask you for more details about the child's needs when it receives a Section 23 Notice. 

You will need to complete:

  • a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Support Plan

or an

  • Early Years Foundation Stage Observation Summary

Evidence must show:

  • the child's learning and development
  • the child's needs
  • the targets that are in place
  • an overview of discussions you've had with the child's parents
  • an overview of discussions you've had with other professionals involved with the child

Funding awards

If successful, SEN Premium will start from the term after the child's third birthday. It's paid each term but to carry on receiving it you must send the PAP updated information at the end of each term. It will decide if you can still get funding for the next term. 

You will need to send in an updated:

  • SEND Support Plan showing the latest review of targets


  • Provision and Outcomes (P & O)

The PAP will also use this information to track how you use the funding.

You can email your documents and any enquiries to