Education personal budgets for children with SEND

Funding is provided to early year settings and schools so they can provide the resources required to meet your child’s needs. In most cases this will enable a school or education setting to deliver support for those with education, health and care (EHC) plans to be delivered.

If your child has an EHC plan, you have the option of asking for a personal budget, which could give you more control over the support identified for your child in their EHC plan. A personal budget can only be spent on things set out in your child’s EHC plan.

In most cases a personal budget will not be used to deliver onsite support within educational settings, as this has already been funded. To use a personal budget for this, you must discuss this with both the headteacher and your local SEND named officer.

Download the Information Advice and Support Kent (IASK) easy read guide to personal budgets (PDF, 429.0 KB).

Requesting a personal budget

You or your child, if they're over 16 years old, can request a personal budget:

  • when an EHC needs assessment is taking place
  • when your child’s EHC plan is being reviewed (the annual review)
  • during a re-assessment of your child’s needs.

It is also possible to ask for a personal transport budget.

Receiving a personal budget

You can choose one or more of these methods to receive your personal budget:

  • direct payments: you pay for and manage services yourselves
  • an arrangement: we, the school or college hold the money for you, but you decide how to spend it
  • third party arrangements: you choose an individual or organisation to manage the money for you.

Direct payments

A direct payment is a cash payment, which would allow you to arrange and manage your child’s services and support. We will only provide a direct payment if you want one and if it is agreed. It is subject to certain conditions being met, which includes how the payment will be made and how it will be monitored and reviewed. It cannot be used to pay for a school place or post-16 setting.

If one is agreed with you, we can pay the money through a fully managed account.

For more information about this process, We are Beams can support you.

Requesting direct payments

You can ask for a direct payment by writing to us, we will usually decide within 10 working days. Your named officer will let you know if it will take longer than 10 working days.

If the direct payment will replace the current arrangement in the school or college, you should discuss this with the headteacher or principal first as any change to the current arrangements will need their agreement.

We may not agree to your request for a direct payment if we have already arranged for services set out in your child's EHC plan to be provided in a school or education setting.

Appealing a decision about direct payments

You can ask us to review our decision by writing to the SEND area manager overseeing the case.

You need to write within 5 days of the date of the decision letter and include:

  • the reason for the review
  • what you hope will happen (the outcome)
  • further information to support your request.

We will review the decision and try to reply within 10 working days. The outcome of the review is final as you can only ask for a review once.

You can’t appeal to the SEND Tribunal about direct payments.

If you have any questions contact your area SEND named officer.

Health or social care personal budgets

For children who meet the criteria, it may be possible to receive support from a personal health budget or a personal budget from social care.