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What support will my child with SEND get from childcare providers?

Early years’ providers are legally required to support children with SEND. This is specified in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework which sets standards in a child’s care up to compulsory school age.

The EYFS requires that all children have the same opportunities in childcare - regardless of needs or disability. Providers must review each child’s learning and development and have procedures for identifying and supporting SEND. Summaries of these reviews must then be shared with the child’s parents/carers.


Special Educational Needs and/or Disability Coordinator (SENDCO)

All nurseries and pre-schools must appoint a Special Educational Need and/or Disability Coordinator (SENDCO). This is someone who holds responsibility for supporting children with SEND. The SENDCO will advise colleagues about the best strategies to promote positive outcomes and will work to actively involve parents in this decision-making.

Childminders are also strongly encouraged to identify someone who can act as a SENDCO – this may be one SENDCO shared by several childminders.


Funding to support early years providers

Early years childcare providers can request additional funding to help support children with SEND in their care. These funding streams include:

  • Disability Access Fund - available for 3- and 4- year olds who receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and free universal or extended early education
  • Enhanced SEN Inclusion Fund (SENIF) - available for 3- and 4- year olds with a low level or emerging SEN who access free universal or extended early education OR 2-year olds who have signficant delays.


Regulation of early years providers

Ofsted is the regulator or early years childcare and carries out regular inspections to ensure providers meet the requirements for supporting children with SEND.    

For more details about what the local authority expects from childcare providers please click here.

Last Updated 25/05/2021

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