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integrated services for learningExceptional Needs Information & Guidance / High Needs Funding (HNF)

Local High Needs Funding (LHNF) Application Form

Guidance will follow at the beginning of the Autumn term.


Top-up High Needs Funding (HNF) and Local High Needs Funding (LHNF) in Mainstream Schools

The SEND Funding in Mainstream Schools Banding Tool is now available.  This sets out Hertfordshire’s approach to funding the special educational provision expected for children and young people in a mainstream school or early years setting. There is a guide in the tool that will explain how the different sections and tabs (worksheets) within the Excel tool operate and what information is required to ensure it works as expected.

Training on the new Top-up High Needs Funding (HNF) and Local High Needs Funding (LHNF), including the use of the Banding Tool, was delivered online on 16th July.

Recording of the training session
Presentation slides

Schools and settings are asked to familiarise themselves with the tool and the descriptors within it so that decisions can be made about the kind of support a child or young person may require to meet their needs. The descriptors in the tool can also be downloaded to form a simple booklet that will act as a quick reference guide.

The Tool will be used from 1st September 2020 to identify the provision for CYP in a variety of circumstances:

  • CYP whose needs can be met from a school’s own resources (Bands 0 and 1)
  • CYP who are going through an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)
  • Schools and settings making an application to the LHNF panels
  • send_funding_in_mainstream_school_banding_tool_2020.xlsx, 02/07/2020

If you have any questions once you have had the opportunity to watch the recording of the training session, please email these to  We will be compiling a list of Frequently Asked Questions which will be published on this page and updated throughout the summer.


Changes to Exceptional Needs Funding (ENF)

We have reviewed the way in which we currently meet complex (high) needs in schools through ENF. Both nationally and locally, there is a rising need for support for pupils with complex needs in mainstream schools and nurseries. This has an impact on how we spend money we have across the education system. The review highlighted the concerns of education providers and parents/carers about ENF, and their views that children and young people are not all getting the funding they need. The review is part of our commitment to make sure that funding is sustainable for schools and nurseries in the future so that they can fully meet children and young people’s needs.

We will be replacing Exceptional Needs Funding (ENF) with a more effective system for identifying needs and resources. The new system will be called Top Up (High Needs) Funding (HNF) for mainstream schools and nurseries.

A phased programme was due to begin from 1 April 2020 however, due to the Coronavirus outbreak implementation has now been delayed. The first phase of the implementation has now been pushed back to the start of the Autumn term 2020 but work will continue on this project whilst schools and educational settings are closed.
We hope that the initial phase can be successfully delivered by 1 September 2020.

For pupils with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

If a pupil's needs are identified by an EHCP, this will also be used to help identify the resources they need. There will be no need for a separate application to identify what funding is needed for the nursery or school to be able to deliver the specified provision in the Plan.

For pupils with no Education, Health and Care Plan

There will be an online tool which lets us work with parents, education providers and professionals to identify a pupil's needs. The online tool will enable their needs to be 'banded'. The 'band' their needs fall into will determine the amount of funding given to the nursery or school to support them.

What does this mean for your pupils?
If a pupil has an EHCP but no ENF

If a child or young person has an EHCP but no ENF, then ENF panels and the SEN Managers are using the banding tool in the Spring and Summer terms 2020 to assess the 1600 EHCPs that are not currently part of the ENF system. Depending on the needs of the child or young person the banding tool may indicate that Top-Up (High Needs) Funding (HNF) is required to support them.  Schools will be told if this is the case by the Autumn term 2020.

New EHCPs that are finalised in the Summer term will be assessed against the banding tool and resources allocated to the school as appropriate. If this applies to your child or young person you will be contacted by the SEN Officer directly.

Schools will be able to contact Sally Glossop, County Lead for SEND if they need access to additional funding for the summer term that they were not able to apply for in the Spring of 2020.”

For pupils that have an EHCP and ENF

If a child or young person has an EHCP and ENF, then their funding will be reviewed as part of their next EHCP annual review. This will be a simple process that looks at whether there has been any change in needs. Please note that this will start from 1 January 2021. ENF will remain in place until they are moved onto the relevant band agreed as part of the reviews.

For pupils with ENF but no EHCP

If the child or young person has ENF but no EHCP, funding will be continued until their ENF review date. At that point a decision will need to be made as to whether additional resources are no longer needed, to apply to the new local system for further funding or to apply for an education, health and care needs assessment.

For pupils with an existing ENF award

All existing ENF cases will now be extended to 31 December 2020, unless the child or young person has left mainstream education.

We will have a local version of Top Up (High Needs) Funding (LHNF) in place that meets the emerging needs of children and young people, and those with complex needs who do not meet the conditions for an EHCP, in place for the Autumn term 2020. All decisions that are made will be in place for one year only and be reviewed in the Summer term 2021.

Work is underway on a new multiple cases system. It is hoped to have this ready for September 2020. If it is not ready, then the existing arrangements will continue for all cases ENF cases in the system.

Training has been completed for over 600 professionals but the next batch of training events had to be cancelled. Training will be delivered at the start of the Autumn term for all those that need it. In the meantime, you can watch a video of the training here.

We will also create a manual by the end of the Autumn term 2020 that lets you know about all the documents, changes and processes for the new system. The new system and transitional arrangements will be reviewed in the Summer term 2021.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Sally Glossop, County Lead for SEND at


ENF Panel documents and dates

ENF Panel Dates 18/19
HCC Exceptional Needs Funding Handbook (2019)
ENF Application Form April 2015


Cluster documents and dates

Cluster Meeting Dates Autumn Term 2019
SEN Cluster Distribution and DSPL Areas
Local Cluster Front Sheet
Guidance for Mainstream SEN Clusters about the Exceptional Needs Process
Cluster Tips 2017


Indicator of Need Documents

Indicator of Need - Cognition & Learning
Indicator of Need - Communication & Interaction
Indicator of Need - Early Years
Indicator of Need - Sensory Medical & or Physical Needs
Indicator of Need - Social & Emotional Health


Exceptional Needs Conference Papers and other helpful information

1. ENF Conference January-2018 - Presentation
2. Debbie Orton - Presentation
2.1 Refreshed SEND Strategy
3. Targeted Workstream Update
3.1 Targeted Workstream Update
3.2 Revised Herts SEN Strategy - Graphic
3.3 Strategic Vision for Specialist Provision Workstream
3.4 Next Phase Specialist Provision Workstream
4. Early Years SEND Funding - Presentation
5. ENF Training - Presentation


Children with additional health needs : support

Children with Additional Health Needs: Provision of ‘Health’ Funding for Mainstream Schools and Early Years Settings in East and North Hertfordshire.
Supporting pupils in school with medical conditions