By Post FIS, 1 Reading Lane, E8 1GQ
Choosing childcare for children with SEND
Choosing the right childcare can be a difficult decision for every parent, but it is particularly challenging if your child has a special educational need or disability (SEND).
In this article you will find information on:
- Finding childcare
- What support is available for children with SEND in childcare
- What financial help is available for childcare costs including some specifically for disabled children
To find up-to-date lists of registered childcare contact the Family Information Service. You have to pay for childcare, although depending on your families circumstances, there may be some help with cost.
Nurseries and playgroups are for children under five years old to play, learn and have fun in groups, while their parents work, study or are busy elsewhere.
A childminder is a person who looks after a child in the childminder’s own home.
Most schools offer a link to an afterschool or breakfast club to look after your child whilst you study or work.
Where your child can play whilst you are at work or studying.
What support is available for children with SEND in childcare?
All registered childcare must make arrangements to support children with SEND and make information about this available to parents. They should have a member of staff to be their SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator). Childminders are encouraged to identify someone to act as their SENCO. The SENCO’s job is to advise colleagues and involve parents.
Support for children aged 0 - 4
Staff at nurseries or playgroups or a childminder should respond quickly as they become aware of difficulties by trying new approaches, involving you and developing a plan. This plan should state your child’s strengths, any areas of concern and explain what support they will offer eg asking advice from a speech and language therapist or a special learning programme. Staff should agree with you when to review the plan to see how well it is working. If after trying new approaches, and involving specialists your child is not making progress it may be time to consider an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. Most children with SEND do not need an EHC.
You should be given a written summary of your child’s progress when they are aged between two and three years, and an Early Years Foundation Stage profile when your child leaves nursery to go to reception class at primary school.
The portage service is a home visiting education service for very young children aged 0 – 4 years with additional needs. They work closely with families and services involved with your child. They can help you understand your child’s development and offer practical strategies and help with moving into playgroup or nursery.
Support for children aged over 5
The childcare options for children aged over 5 are afterschool clubs, holiday playschemes and childminders. Ask to speak to the SENCO, and explain your child’s needs and strategies for supporting them.
There is some limited financial support for childcare for children with SEND.
Financial support for childcare costs
For children with SEND
If you are on a low income or your 2 year old has a statement of special education needs, Education Health and Care plan or receives disability living allowance; you may be able to get 15 hours a week free childcare in term-time.
- Vulnerable children under 5
There may be some childcare funding for vulnerable children under 5.
- Holiday playschemes – SEN places
Up to 5 days in Easter or summer for some children with SEND aged 5 – 11.
- Short Breaks
For children in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) middle or high rate. They may receive up to 20 days of activities to support a disabled young person to have an enjoyable break away from their main carer. This can be used for holiday playschemes, or afterschool activities.
Financial support for childcare for all children
- 15 hours free childcare for all 3 & 4 year olds
- 30 hours free childcare for working parents
You, and any partner are working (include self employment) and earning at least £125.28 a week but no more than £100,000 per year
- Tax-Free Childcare
If you get Tax-Free Childcare, the goverment will pay £2 for every £8 you pay your childcare provider via an online account.
- Child Tax Credits
Many families can get tax credits, make sure you claim
- Childcare Vouchers
Tax free payments from your salary. Your employer needs to sign up for this scheme. This can affect the amount of Tax Credit you get
- Working Tax Credit (Childcare Element)
The government helps some working families with childcare costs through Working Tax Credit
- Childcare Grant for students
Help with paying for childcare for higher education students while you study
- Care to Learn
If you have a 3 or 4 year old child in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA), their nursery or childminder could be able to get extra money to provide suitable support.
Find out more: Disability Access Fund (DAF)
Last updated: 12/06/18