Finding and funding early education and childcare

Early years options for children with SEND

If you're looking for childcare or early education for your child with SEND, you have the same choices as other parents.

There are lots of options for early education and each will offer something different, so you can choose what best suits your child and family situation.

Your options include:

Finding early education providers

You can search for childcare options on the Family Information Directory.

You can also find child minders in your area and vacancies in local nurseries, playgroups and pre-schools, by contacting Early Education and Childcare. They can also tell you about funding available for early education and help you to apply.

Funding includes:

Early years education curriculum and standards

Foundation stage curriculum

All childminders and providers follow the early years foundation stage curriculum. It covers the learning and development of all children up to 5-years-old and promotes inclusion and achievement. Your child's progress will be tracked, and staff will work with you to plan individual targets and learn more about your child.

Inclusion and achievement

All providers of early education or childcare must promote equal opportunities for children with SEND so that they make the best possible progress. They must not discriminate and must make reasonable adjustments to include children with SEND.

For more information, view the SEND code of practice (PDF).

Quality teaching

Your child should have access to quality teaching, stimulating play experiences and interaction with other children.

Staff follow an 'Assess-Plan-Do-Review'. This means they think about how to best teach your child new skills, plan their teaching activities in advance and monitor your child's progress.

Transition into school

If you have a child with SEND, choosing a school for them can feel like a big decision. View our transition into school information to find out more about schooling options, how to apply, and ways to get further advice.

If you need extra support

Extra support is also available. Your child may benefit from:

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