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Childcare for a child with SEND

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All about Childcare

Choosing the right childcare setting for your child is important, it may be the first time your child has spent any time away from you and it can feel scary - for both of you!

On this page you will find information about

  • 💷 Help towards the cost of childcare
  • 🔎 How to find a childcare setting
  • 💬 What questions to ask when you visit a setting
  • 👩‍👧 What support can be put in place in the childcare setting

Plus don't miss the Contact podcast, and school readiness video from Barnsley Schools Alliance. 

Getting help with childcare costs

Help with childcare costs is available for both working and non-working families with children with SEND. 

There are lots of schemes available depending on your child's age and your family circumstances. 

See what you are eligible for and how to apply on the Childcare Choices Website

Did you know?

Up to 15 hours a week Free childcare is available for 2-year-olds who have an EHC Plan, or who get Disability Living Allowance (DLA), regardless of total household income. 

(You will need to email Families Information Service a copy of their DLA award notice or EHCP for the claim to be approved.)  

Ring 0800 0345 340 or email to apply.

Finding a childcare setting

You can search for Local Ofsted registered childcare, including day nurseries, childminders and after-school clubs on The Virtual Family Hub 

🔎 Ready to start your search?

Choosing Childcare: Virtual Family Hub 

You can add your postcode, how many miles you would like to travel and click search to see a list of settings in your area. 

Clicking on the setting name will give you more information.

The description will say how they support children or young people with special educational needs or disabilities, and talk about what specialist training, experience and expertise they have to be able to support your child.

♿ They may also provide information about how accessible their setting is, in terms of disabled facilities.  

If you like what you read and are interested, or have any questions about how they'll meet your child's needs the next step is to contact the childcare setting. 

If you need any help using the search, or want some extra help to find a childcare setting you can contact the Families Information Service on 0800 0345 340 Monday - Thursday 9am - 5pm and 9am - 4:30pm on Fridays. 

Use our childcare checklist when visiting a childcare setting

Childcare Checklist

Here are some things to keep in mind, or ask about when you ring the setting, or when you go to visit..

  • 🧒 How will the setting support your child’s specific needs?
  • 👩‍👩‍👦‍👦 Do they have enough staff to support your child?
  • 💻 What specialist training have the staff done
  • ♿ Does the setting have any adaptions that might help your child?
  • 💷 Is the setting familiar with the additional funding that might be available, and how to apply.
  • 📄 Has the setting been involved with collecting evidence for EHCP?
  • 👧 Do they currently have any children with SEND in the setting? How are they supported?
  • 🧸 Can I look around the building and outside play areas?
  • ⭐ Ask about settling in, can you stay with your child until they are comfortable? 

How a childcare setting will support your child.

Talking about your child's needs with the SENCO at the setting will help them to understand what support may be needed.

Take a look at this Parent Guide to support in the Early Years from Contact. 

You'll find 

  • How settings help identify your child's needs
  • Who the key people are 
  • What support you can expect your child to receive
  • Communicating with the setting
  • Refusals and exclusions 
  • Moving onto school 

There's even a short podcast!

Setting can also apply for funding to help meet children's needs, they'll talk to you about:

👨‍👧 Early Years Inclusion Grant
If your child needs more staff to support them in setting they can apply for the Early Years Inclusion Grant.
The grant is paid directly to the childcare setting. The setting will talk to you if they want to apply for the grant.

Disability Access Fund (DAF)
If your child is 3 - or 4 years old and in receipt of DLA settings can apply for the Disability Access Fund. Settings can use the funding to help toward making reasonable adjustments so your child can attend.
The funding is paid directly to childcare setting. The setting will talk to you if they want to apply for the grant.

Please Note: All grants are paid directly to the setting 

Let's get ready for school

Take a look at this helpful video from Barnsley Schools Alliance, about getting ready to start school 👇

Listen to the moving onto school podcast from Contact

What if I'm not happy with a childcare setting?

Talk to the setting first about any concerns you may have. Most of the time the setting and family can work through the concerns. Ask about their complaints policy or procedure, they will be happy to talk to you in the first place to try to find a solution.

If you and the setting cannot find a solution, you can register your complaint with Ofsted by clicking here

Jargon Buster : What does that mean?


Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.

They inspect services which provide education and skills for learners of all ages. They also inspect services that care for children and young people and make sure they are up to standard.

Inclusion         providing equal access to opportunities and resources for all people
PoliciesRules, or procedures that an organisation follows.