When choosing childcare you want to be sure that your child is safe, secure and happy. Finding suitable childcare for a child with a disability or special educational need (SEND) can often require a little more consideration in regards to environment, setting and experience. Here you will find information on things to consider when finding childcare, relevant legislation and where to go for further information.
Consider what kind of childcare you want. Whether you are looking for your child to be cared for in a group setting or in a home based setting (childminder). to help you decide which type of childcare you might want we have the Different types of childcare page.
When looking for childcare start looking early, if possible do this before your child needs childcare. Don't feel under pressure to take the first provider you find, take your time and to speak to as many providers as you can. All childcare providers and schools should offer support to a child with SEND.
A day nursery, pre-school playgroup or school should have a Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO). All Childcare providers have access to training that enables them to provide care for children with disabilities or special educational needs. Make a shortlist of questions to ask. You can find ideas on what to ask on our Childcare Checklist. Speak to the SENCO or childminder about how they can meet your child's needs and how will they plan for and support your child's needs.
To help you with your search, we have asked childcare providers to provide details on their experience of working with children with SEND and any relevant training and or qualifications.
Day nurseries and pre-school playgroups caring for children aged 0-5 years can get support to help with inclusion and development of children with SEND from the Early Years SEN Team. Other support for childcare providers include:
- Sensory support - for children with hearing, visual impairment or physical disability needs
- Early years special educational needs team - for pre-school childcare providers.
- Disability access fund - funding to support pre-school settings for children age 3 to 4 who have Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- SEN Inclusion Fund - funding to support pre-school settings for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
If you’ve tried all childcare options and can’t find suitable childcare that can support your child's needs, contact the Family Information Service on 020 8583 3470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org