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Support for children with SEN in early years settings

Childcare support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Find information about the support you can get with childcare for children with SEND.

Search our Family Information Directory for early years settings

Some settings give extra information about how they provide for children with SEND and are marked with the Local Offer logo.

What support you can expect

Early years settings must:

Special educational provision

The early years setting will give special educational provision to children with SEND. This is the same as the provision given to all children. The setting will discuss this with you as a parent or carer and work out the best way to offer support. 

If a child has special educational provision, the setting considers them in need of SEN Support

We recommend that you talk to the SEN coordinator (SENCO) at the setting for more details about what they can provide. In a childminding setting the childminder is the SENCO.

Funding support in the setting

If your child receives Disability Living Allowance and they attend an early years setting you should let the setting know.

Childcare providers, including registered childminders may be able to get Disability Access Funding (DAF) to support the needs of children with SEND in their setting. This could be used to pay for:

  • special equipment
  • resources
  • extra staff
  • training

Speak to your provider to find out more.

Early Years special educational needs (SEN) inclusion fund

Early Years SEN inclusion funding (EYSENIF) is where we make payments to early years providers to help them meet the needs of children with SEN in their childcare setting. 

If you think your child has SEND or you're worried about your child's development speak to your early years provider about your concerns.

Your provider will speak to you if they think some additional SEN support could help your child. As part of this support they may apply for EYSENIF if you agree. They may also ask for advice from these types of services if you agree:

  • educational psychologist
  • portage consultant
  • specialist teacher
  • Early Years Advice and Support Teacher

Education, health and care (EHC) assessments and plans

Settings can ask for an EHC needs assessment if they feel a child needs one. 

Find out more about the EHC plan process.

Some children in early years settings have an EHC plan. EHC plans are reviewed at least once a year. During the review, staff look at the child's progress and hopes for the future. 

Find out more about the review for an EHC plan

Maintained nurseries

Maintained nurseries (funded by the local authority) also have to publish an annual SEN information report. You can find this on the setting's website or you can ask for a copy. This explains how they assess, involve and support children with SEND. 

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