SEN allowances

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Pay and pensions
02 November 2016
Special educational needs (SEN) allowances are payable to teachers in England, Wales or Northern Ireland who spend most or a great deal of their time teaching pupils with statements of special educational needs.

Allowances must be paid to classroom teachers:

  • in any SEN post that requires a mandatory SEN qualification
  • in a special school
  • who teach pupils in one or more designated special classes or units in a school or, in the case of an unattached teacher, in a local authority unit or service
  • who teach in any non-designated setting (including pupil referral units) that are analogous to a designated special class or unit, where the post:
  1. involves a substantial element of working directly with children with special educational needs
  2. requires the exercise of a teacher's professional skills and judgement in the teaching of children with special educational needs
  3. has a greater level of involvement in the teaching of children with special educational needs than is the normal requirement of teachers throughout the school or unit within the school or, in the case of an unattached teacher, the unit or service.


In previous years there were two levels of SEN allowance (referred to as SEN1 and SEN2). Employers are required to determine the value of each SEN allowance from within a range. As at September 2014, the range is from £2,043 and £4,034.

Employers should be able to justify why different values have been awarded.

When setting the level of the allowance the employer must take into account the following factors:

  • whether any mandatory qualifications are required for the post
  • the qualifications or expertise of the teacher relevant to the post
  • the relative demands of the post.

Schools will need to keep the value and number of SEN allowances under review. If, after the initial review, a teachers loses or suffers a reduction in the value of their SEN allowance then safeguarding will apply.


SENCOs may be eligible for a SEN allowance if they meet the criteria. They may also be eligible for a TLR payment if they also meet the TLR criteria.

Pay policies and staffing structures

Schools' pay policies and staffing structures will need to reflect which posts are paid SEN allowances, the value each attracts and how the decision has been reached.

Need further advice?

Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.