Personal budgets for special educational provision

Personal budgets for special educational provision are available to children and young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans.

Ask for a personal budget

You can ask for a personal budget:

  • When the local authority has completed an EHC needs assessment and confirmed it will issue an EHC plan for your child.  Contact the SEND Statutory Assessment and Review Service (SENDSARS)
  • During the annual review of your child’s EHC Plan. Contact your SENCO (or equivalent at college) before the annual review meeting. They will raise this with SENDSARS.

SENDSARS will discuss what can be provided as a personal budget for special educational provision.

You can also make requests for a personal health budget or a social care budget directly to the relevant services at any time.

The local authority will let you know if your request for a personal budget is accepted or declined.

If it is declined, they will tell you the reasons why. You will receive this information in writing.

You can request a formal review of the decision if you do not agree with it.

You can also contact SSENDIAS for impartial information about your rights.

A personal budget for special educational provision can only be used for delivering some or part of the provision specified in Part F of an EHC plan.

This could include:

  • Specialist IT or other equipment
  • Extra time from a support worker
  • Access to extra teaching time

Personal budgets for social care support can be used for things like employing a personal assistant or support with life skills.

There are four ways to manage a personal budget for special educational provision:

  1. Direct payments

You and your family receive a cash payment from which you can contract, buy, and manage services yourself.

  1. Notional personal budgets

You and your family are involved in decisions about how the money is used. But the personal budget is held and managed by a responsible organisation on your behalf. This could be Sheffield City Council, your school or college, or Integrated Care Board (ICB). Services provided can only be those that are commissioned by the organisation.

  1. Third-party arrangements

The budget is received and managed by a separate organisation, like an independent brokerage service or a service provider. They will arrange services on your behalf.

  1. A combination of the above.

You can talk to SEND Statutory Assessment and Review Service (SENDSARS) about the different options.

In Sheffield, only funding for SEN Transport and “top-up” (element 3) funding can be included in a personal budget for special educational provision.

“Top-up” funding comes from the high needs education budget. “Top-up” funding is also provided to special schools and colleges and other post-16 providers for individual students with high needs.

You can talk to SEND Statutory Assessment and Review Service (SENDSARS) about available funding.

Further advice

Sheffield SENDIAS is part of Sheffield City Council and provides free and impartial information, advice and support to children and young people with SEND (aged 0-25) and their parents.

They can advise on personal budgets for special educational provision and social care. Call SENDIAS on 0114 273 6009 or email

Disability Sheffield also offer advice and guidance about direct payments, personal assistants, and provide an online Personal Assistant Register.