Personal education budgets

A personal budget is the money needed to cover some or all of the cost of provision specified in an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan). A Personal Budget can include funding from education, health and social care.

The personal budget will depend on need, eligibility and service delivery and is there to help achieve the outcomes in the EHC Plan.

Most families are happy with the way that schools or settings provide what is needed in the EHC Plan. If, however, families feel that support should be provided in a different way, a request for a personal budget can be made to the local authority.

What can a personal education budget include?

Services or activities must meet the assessed need and help to achieve the EHC Plan outcomes.

Personal education budgets vary depending on the school or educational setting.

Special Schools and colleges provide core, integrated specialist services. This means there is usually less need for a personal budget.

These budgets can provide:

  • extra learning support
  • some specialist input
  • work experience or work-based learning opportunities
  • and/or add to the technology available to a pupil to support their preferred learning style

These budgets can't fund:

  • the cost of a school place
  • an existing service provided by the school or local authority such as outreach.

For details, please refer to sections 9.110 to 9.118 of the SEND Code of Practice.

Considering a personal education budget?

A child's parent/carer or a young person (over 16 years) can apply for a personal budget.

This can be done at any time during the assessment, drafting or reviewing of an EHC Plan. All requests are considered on an individual basis.

The local authority will assess if a personal budget is the most effective way to help achieve the outcomes. If the request is not approved, the parent or young person will get a written explanation.

There is no right to appeal. However, parents or young people can ask the local authority to review their decision.

If the provision would normally happen at, or be provided by their:

  • nursery
  • school
  • college
  • training provider

The budget cannot be granted unless the Head of setting has given their approval.

How to apply for a personal budget

A template form can be requested by emailing

Alternatively, parents can submit their own request, but we advise adding the following detail to the request to help panel consider it:

  • name of child/young person
  • name(s) of parent(s)/carer(s)
  • area of need (as stated in EHCP)
  • outcomes (as stated in EHCP)
  • provision (as stated in EHCP)
  • delivered by
  • resources/ equipment
  • costings

Personal education budgets and elective home education

Home educated children with an EHCP will not routinely receive a personal education budget if the local authority believes that the child's needs could be met in school and that parents have decided to educate their child at home / make their own arrangements under section 7 of the Education Act 1996.

Although, as each decision is made on an individual basis, a budget could be provided if the authority decides it is necessary.

Funding a personal education budget

A personal education budget is not an extra amount of money or service. It comes from the local authorities high needs funding stream and is a different way of detailing and possibly arranging the support agreed in the EHC Plan.

It is dependent on locally commissioned services and what schools and colleges normally provide as part of the local offer. Most of the services received by a child or young person will be part of the Southend Local Offer.

Managing a personal education budget

There are four ways of managing personal budgets:

  1. A direct payment where individuals receive the cash to contract, buy and manage a service themselves.
  2. An arrangement whereby the local authority, school or college holds the funds and commissions the support specified in the EHC Plan.
  3. A third party arrangement where funds are paid to and managed by an individual or organisation on behalf of the parent or young person.
  4. A combination of the above.

Further information and advice

For further information or advice about a personal education budget please contact the Southend SEND Team on 01702 215246 or at

Organisations that can provide advice in relation to personal budgets include:

Contact the SEND team

Telephone: 01702 215246