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Choosing childcare for children with SEND

There are many things you should consider when looking for childcare, particularly those that you feel will help your child.

  1. How long have you been working with children? What experience do they have of supporting children with additional needs.
  2. What qualifications and/or training do staff have, and are they relevant to your child?
  3. Are they trained to give medication or use specific equipment?
  4. Can I look around the building to see the rooms and outside play areas?
  5. Where will my child rest?
  6. What kind of food and drink will you give? Can you support my child’s dietary needs?
  7. What will my child be doing throughout day?
  8. How would they approach your child’s disability with other children/parents?
  9. Will my child be with a regular group of children? How old are they?
  10. How will they communicate with you about your child’s progress and needs?
  11. How does the setting manage during an emergency?

In the video below from the Coram Family and Childcare Trust, mum Jade talks about how excellent communication and small adaptations from her childcare provider helped her son, Preston, who has autism, to develop, learn new skills and engage with other children his own age. 

For more videos about childcare experiences from parents of children with SEND,as well as information and guidance on choosing the right provider, please visit the Coram Family and Childcare Trust page.

Specific questions for a childminder

  • Have you any vacancies?
  • How long have you been childminding?
  • What extra training have you done?
  • What other children do you care for, and how old are they?
  • Are you an inclusive setting and what particular knowledge and expertise do you have to enable you to care for children with SEND?
  • Can you supply me with references?
  • Do you charge for sick days and holidays?
  • Have you a copy of your policies or a prospectus?
  • Do you have a copy of your latest Ofsted Inspection Report?
  • Which rooms do you use for childminding? (They should show you round.)
  • Where will my child sleep? Make sure it is quiet.
  • How do you spend the day and how will the other children’s schedules fit in with my child? What outings and experiences do you offer the children?
  • Do you provide properly-fitted car seats?
  • What kind of meals and drinks do you provide?
  • Do you keep a file about a child’s progress?
  • Do you offer a settling in period?

Also please remember

  1. Look to see the childminder’s up-to-date registration/approval, public liability insurance and first aid certificates on display.
  2. Check all rooms and the garden are registered and insured; otherwise your child will be excluded from those areas.
  3. Ask how many other adults will be in the house.
  4. Agree on feeding, learning, TV watching and discipline policies, etc.
  5. It is very important to discuss the contract; it should cover hours, pay, sickness, holiday and bank holiday pay. Remember to keep the signed contract safe so you can refer to it in the future.
  6. Ask whether the childminder can provide funded early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.
  7. Ask whether they offer “blended provision” and will take your child to a local pre-school and pick them up afterwards if you choose to use this option when your child is old enough (It is possible to share the funding between 2 settings).

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