Funding available to childcare providers to support your child's special educational needs or disability.

All early years childcare providers, such as nurseries and pre-schools, can get funding to provide support for children with SEND from:

  • universal funding
  • targeted funding
  • Early Years Special Educational Needs Panel funding

Universal funding

Providers get an amount per hour, per child, which early years settings get whether a child has SEND or not.

Targeted funding

This is extra funding for three and four year olds who live in area of deprivation identified from national statistics.

Early Years Special Educational Needs Panel funding

Some children with special educational needs can get additional funding from the Early Years Special Educational Needs panel.

Your child's SENCO identifies your child's needs and then applies for the appropriate level of funding to the Early Years Special Educational Needs Panel.

The funding is paid to the provider your child goes to and transfers with them if they move to another provider. It can be allocated to more than one provider if your child goes to more than one setting.

If you think your child needs extra support in their childcare setting, speak to the provider or SENCO about the provision already in place and planned next steps. Your provider should be able to explain what they can provide in the setting from their own resources and discuss if they need to apply for further funding.

If needed, they can make an application to the Early Years Special Educational Needs panel, which meets once a month. The panel must receive the application no later than the Wednesday 2 weeks before the panel meeting.

The panel will write to your childcare provider with the outcome and your child's setting will then arrange to put additional provision in place, using the funding the panel has allocated.

The Disability Access Fund 

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) helps children who are disabled access free childcare by:

  • supporting early years providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings
  • helping build capacity for children with SEND

It's available to three and four year olds who:

  •     go to a childcare provider for their universal free entitlement
  •     get the child disability living allowance

The childcare provider gets a one off payment of £828 per year, per eligible child. You can't split the DAF across two or more providers if you're splitting your free entitlement.

If your child changes childcare providers, the funding isn't transferrable to a new provider within the same financial year.

To claim the funding, your provider will need a copy of the document that says your child gets Disability Living Allowance.

Information for early years professionals

If you're an education professional, you can find out more information about what funding is available for early years and how to apply.