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How to get childcare for a child with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Early years, childcare and SEND 

Choosing the right childcare/free early education and care place for you and your child is important and lots of registered childcare providers have expert knowledge and experience of looking after children with SEND.  Childcare providers must do all they can to meet the needs of children in their care and must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to meet the needs of the child.  Most childcare provision will have a nominated special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) who will be able to discuss with you how they will meet your child’s needs. 

Kirklees Council has a team of Inclusion Officers who can offer advice and support with identifying and accessing appropriate childcare for children who have complex needs.  More information can be found on the support for early years special educational needs page (opens in a new window).  You can make referrals to this service as a parent or carer and there is a form you can complete on the link above.

Don’t leave it until the last minute to look for childcare! Give yourself lots of time to find the right childcare for you and your child and bear in mind some childcare providers may have a waiting list. Some childcare providers have indicated their experience and specialist knowledge of caring for children with additional needs, however, there may be other childcare providers who would be able to meet your child’s individual needs with some additional training or support. Childcare providers may be able to get extra funding to support children with additional needs which could be used to pay for resources, training and specialist equipment. You can speak to your childcare provider to find out more.

Finding Childcare for children with Special needs and Disabilities (SEND)

Parents/carers can search for childcare for children and young people with SEND using the Kirklees Childcare search page (opens in a new window).

You can also use the Kirklees Online Directory (opens in a new window) to search for childcare or you can contact the Family Information Service on 01484 414887 or email fis@kirklees.gov.uk for more help.

Childminders are self employed childcare professionals and look after children in their own homes.  They are registered and inspected by Ofsted. Most offer funded early education places and are open all year round.   

Day Nurseries are registered and inspected by Ofsted.  They usually look after children from birth to 5 years but some offer out of school care for school aged children.  Most offer funded early education places and are open all year round. 

Holiday schemes care for children from 4 to 11 years (some look after older children) during the school holidays. 

Nanny/home childcarers care for children in the parents own home, or in another parents home (eg a nanny share arrangement, although the children must be from no more than two families at any one time).  You employ the nanny/home childcarer and you will be responsible for taxnational insurance contributions as well as sick pay or holiday pay.  Because children are looked after in your own home, a nanny does not have to be registered with Ofsted but some choose to go on the voluntary register. 

Out of School Clubs are registered and inspected by Ofsted.  They usually provide care for school aged children before and after the school session and are open term time only. 

Pre-Schools/Playgroups/Nursery unit of independent schools are registered and inspected by Ofsted.  They usually care for children aged between 2 and 5 years.  Most offer funded early education places and are open term time only. 

School nurseries care for children aged 3 and 4 years, some also care for 2 year olds, and are open term time only.  Most offer either a morning or afternoon session. 

Find out if they can provide the care you want and they can meet your child’s needs. 

  • Visit the setting and meet the staff (if possible take your child with you on the visit) – try and visit more than one setting.
  • Speak to the provider about your child’s needs and how they will be met  
  • Ask to see their latest Ofsted inspection report.  Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.  They register and inspect services providing childcare or early education for all ages.  An inspection report gives information about what the inspector found on the day of the inspection and include grades on the quality of the provision and things the provider can do to improve.  The highest and recommended ratings are Outstanding and Good.  Some providers may not have been inspected yet because they are a new provision. 
  • Children – do they look happy and content?  How many do they care for? 
  • Staff – are there enough and do they interact well with the children?  Are they well qualified and ask about their experience of working with children with additional needs 
  • Equipment and resources – is there plenty and are they clean and well maintained?  Is there an outside play area? 
  • How much do they charge per hour/day? What is their charging policy? 
  • Do they offer Free early education for 2, 3 and 4 year olds?   
  • Safeguarding – what happens in case of emergency? 
  • How do they cater for dietary needs?  Are there systems in place if a child has a severe food allergy? 
  • Can they provide references? 

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.  They register and inspect services providing childcare or early education for all ages.  An inspection report gives information about what the inspector found on the day of the inspection and include grades on the quality of the provision and things the provider can do to improve.  The highest and recommended ratings are Outstanding and Good.  Some providers may not have been inspected yet because they are a new provision.  You can read the latest report by searching the Ofsted website (opens in new window).

All local authorities have a duty to ensure that; 

  • There are sufficient childcare places available for working parents and those parents training to enter work 
  • There are sufficient places for every child to access their entitlement to free early education and care 

If you are unable to find the childcare you need?  Our Brokerage Service webpage (opens in new window)  may be able to help.  Please only complete this form if you have been unable to find a free early learning or childcare place.   

Childcare providers cannot charge more for a child with additional need to attend their setting. 

Many families can access financial support to help them to pay for childcare. Check what help you could get with childcare costs by using the cost calculator tool from gov.uk (opens in new window). 

More information about help paying for childcare can be found on the Childcare choices website (Opens in a new window).

Free learning and childcare for 2 year olds 

Two year old children may be entitled to receive 15 hours a week free childcare.   Use our online checker to see if your child is eligible (opens in a new window).

Free learning and childcare for 3 and 4 year olds 

All 3 and 4 year old children are entitled to a free childcare place of 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year.  This is a total of 570 hours over the year.  There is no need to apply for these free hours.   More information can be found on the Kirklees Early Education for 3-4 year olds webpage (opens in a new window).

30 hours free childcare (for some 3-4 year olds)

Eligible 3 and 4 year olds may be entitled to receive 30 hours a week of free childcare. 

Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply on the childcare choices website (opens in a new window).

Disability access fund (DAF) 

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is funding for early years providers who offer free early education and care for 3 and 4 year olds to support children with disabilities or special educational needs.   More information can be found in this DAF information leaflet (opens in a new window).

Family Information Service (FIS) 

Kirklees Family Information Service provides free and impartial information, advice and guidance on a wide range of services and organisations to support families with children aged 0-19 (up to 25 years for those with additional needs). 

The Family Information Service can help you to find and choose childcare, advise on the free early education entitlement for 2, 3 and 4 year old children, the help available towards paying for childcare and offers a childcare brokerage service to parents/carers experiencing difficulty finding childcare. 

We can advise about which childcare providers have experience of caring for children who have additional needs and put you in touch with teams who are dedicated to helping children with a disability or special educational need to access inclusive childcare. 

Childcare for children or young people with SEND can be searched for on the Kirklees SEND Childcare  page (opens in new window).

Last updated: 05/10/2020

Useful links

Kirklees Childcare and early education page

Kirklees Childcare