Partnership Grants for students with special educational needs and disabilities

Schools can apply for funding to support investigative research projects that are specifically tailored for students with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities). 

The grant enables schools to purchase equipment to carry out investigative STEM research projects in science, mathematics, engineering or computing. By taking part in these projects, students will have the opportunity to develop essential skills, such as problem solving and data handling skills, readying them for the future world of work. 

All applications to the Partnership Grants scheme follow the same key dates and application process however, for those projects involving students with SEND, there are a few key areas of added flexibility in the eligibility and judging criteria that applicants should note: 


Applicants should ensure that the following information is considered fully when drafting their application form:

  1. STEM partner:  similar to the main scheme, the STEM partner should give students with SEND an experience of the world of work and help develop key skills. We understand there may need to be more flexibility when finding a suitable STEM partner and we are happy to offer further guidance to teachers if needed (please see our contact details at the bottom of this page). STEM partners may have no, or limited, experience working with students with SEND. Please share our document, STEM partner guidance for projects supporting students with SEND, to help your STEM partner work with you to best support the school and project.
  2. More of the grant funding can be utilised to cover teaching support or travel costs. Similar to the main scheme, ideally the majority of the grant should still be requested for equipment to ensure the project is sustainable.
  3. We understand that group sizes may be smaller.

Judging criteria

The following judging criteria are used by the judges during the review process. Please note that the suitability of the STEM partner and the investigative element of the project are double weighted during the judging process (meaning that they are worth twice as much as other criterion) due to their importance. 

Area Judging criteria for projects supporting students with SEND
Project title Must be a question that the students are attempting to answer by completing the project.
STEM partner involvement The STEM partner should give students with SEND an experience of the world of work. The level of involvement of the STEM partner will be reviewed on a case by case basis. This element is double weighted during the judging process.
Investigative element It needs to be clear to the judges that the investigations link to the project title and that students will be developing new skills. The investigative elements of these projects will be reviewed on a case by case basis. This element is double weighted during the judging process.
Equipment and materials The judging panel will be checking that the items requested link to the project and it is important that they are clearly justified. For projects supporting students with SEND, a larger part of the grant funding may be requested for additional staff support or travel costs if it can be shown that the costs, and the activities they support, are integral to the project. Funding should not be used to purchase items normally covered by school budgets. The judges will also want to see that proposed items represent best value for money.
Involvement and selection of students Ideally Partnership Grant projects should support a diverse range of student in terms of gender and ethnicity, but we understand that students with SEND will have been selected based on their individual needs and abilities.
Project legacy Partnership Grant projects supporting students with SEND should be sustainable if at all possible (for example they could be repeated or extended in future years, or the equipment used for other projects). The legacy for these projects will be reviewed on a case by case basis. 

Applying for this scheme

The following links will provide you with the general information you need to know about the Partnership Grants scheme, taking into account the added flexibility described above:

If you have any questions about supporting students with SEND through the Partnership Grants scheme, please contact the Schools Engagement team at or 0207 451 2531.