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Home What are Special Educational Needs and Disability? What is the Children and Families Act 2014? What is the SEND Local Offer? What is Early Help? What is an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment? Where can I find Independent Help and Support? Key documents for implementing the SEND reforms

Early Years - Childcare

We have divided the early years resource into the areas within the picture below to help you find the information you need with minimal effort or you can do a quick search.

For further information and assistance in finding the right Ofsted registered childcare provider for your family please visit the Family Information Service website or contact them by calling 01724 296629 or email fis@northlincs.gov.uk

For information on financial help that is available to families of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities to meet the costs of childcare please also see our Help with childcare costs web page.

The Local Authority is committed to promoting high standards of childcare that meets the needs of parents and children in North Lincolnshire. This includes giving disabled children and children with special educational needs, greater support, choice and opportunities. Please see ‘inclusive childcare’ tab for more information.

Inclusive Childcare

The Local Authority is committed to promoting high standards of childcare that meets the needs of parents and children in North Lincolnshire. All childcare providers, such as nurseries, childminders and pre-schools must meet the requirements of the SEND Code of Practice 2014 (0-25 years), the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.

This gives disabled children and children with special educational needs, greater support, choice and opportunities. Providers must:

  • Involve you and your child in decision making and ensure you receive the information and support you require.
  • Respond effectively to your child’s emerging needs.
  • Work together with professionals and services to have a coordinated approach to ensure positive outcomes for your child. This could include including joined-up assessments and plans for children who need support.
  • Demonstrate an approach to caring that enables all children to fully participate in learning activities.

In addition, providers have a duty placed on them by the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for children with SEND.

Section 5.1 of the Act states

“5.10 All early years providers have duties under the Equality Act 2010. In particular, they must not discriminate against, harass or victimise disabled children, and they must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at substantial disadvantage. This duty is anticipatory – it requires thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage. All publicly funded early years providers must promote equality of opportunity for disabled children.”

1. Introduction - The guidance

What is the benefit to my child?

Childcare provides a valuable experience for your child supported by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum. It helps them prepare for transition in to school. Children are encouraged to learn through play; in a fun, safe and nurturing environment.

High levels of qualified staff, together with good teaching practice, have a positive impact on the learning experiences provided for all children. Providers must provide a broad range of quality resources which promote a wide range of learning opportunities. Research evidence shows that regular, high quality early education has lasting benefits for all children.

All childcare practitioners work in partnership with parents and other professionals to use a range of strategies to promote children’s development throughout their early years. Parents are a key partner and are kept informed about their children’s developmental progress at all times, through daily contact and regular updates.

Don’t just take our word for it, recent inspections of North Lincolnshire childcare providers have highlighted the ways in which professional staff are meeting the needs of all children in their care.

“The high levels of qualified staff, together with exceptional teaching practice, has a positive impact on the learning experiences provided for children.

Support for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities and those who speak English as an additional language is exceptional”. Kingsway Children’s Centre

“Staff support children with special educational needs and/or disabilities well. They work very effectively in partnership with parents and other professionals to identify and use a range of strategies to promote development”. Little Imps Pre-school

“Children form exceptional relationships with the staff who care for them each day. This means children’s individual needs are always met extremely well. These nurturing relationships give children the security they need to develop confidence and emotional stability”. Belwood Pre-school

“The childminder keeps parents fully informed about their children’s developmental progress. She talks to them daily when dropping off and collecting children. She provides them with regular written summaries of their children’s development. This means they are aware of the good progress their children are making”.

Guidance is available to Early Years providers on inclusive practice in the form of the SEND and Inclusion Handbook for Early Years PVI Providers .

If you are not happy with the care your child is receiving at their childcare setting you can find details of the steps you need to take to make a complaint in the handbook under section 2.10

Free Early Education for Two Year Olds
Your child may be entitled to 15 hours a week free childcare from the term following their second birthday. This will be for at least 38 weeks a year.

How do I apply for Two Year Old Funding?
For information on how to apply for funding, please visit North Lincolnshire Council’s two-year old funding webpage.

Free Early Education for Three and Four Year Olds
All three and four year olds are entitled to up to 15 hours of funded early education for 38 weeks of the year. Working families of three and four-year olds may also be eligible for an additional 15 hours per week of free childcare during school term time from September 2017.

Children are eligible the school term after their third birthday (autumn, spring and summer terms).

The entitlement provides a valuable educational opportunity for children, encouraged by a carer to learn through play. They will have fun in a safe and nurturing environment whilst making friends and preparing for school.

To access the universal 15 hours of early education funding contact your child’s existing carer or contact the Family Information Service to find out details of your local childcare providers on 01724 296629.

To access the extended 15 hours for working families you must meet an eligibility criteria and apply via the Childcare Choices website.

For more information about three and four year old nursery funding please visit the North Lincolnshire Council three and four year old funding webpage.

Inclusive Funding

At times, Early Years providers including maintained (schools) and non-maintained (Private Voluntary and Independent - PVI) providers may find they are unable to meet the needs of a child with identified Special Educational Needs and Disability within existing resources. In such circumstances they may submit an “inclusion funding” application for additional funding to enhance their provision to meet the needs of the child. Applications will be considered by the Early Years Inclusion Funding panel.

The Terms of Reference for the panel can be found in the SEND and Inclusion Handbook for Early Years PVI Providers

The Disability Access Fund

What is the disability access fund?

The disability access fund has been set up to help your child to access a place in an Early Years setting.

It is a one off payment of £615.00 per financial year paid to the setting your child attends. In the case of children who attend more than one setting, it is for the setting you nominate to receive this payment. Your child will only be eligible in the setting you have nominated to receive the lump sum.

If a child receiving DAF moves from one setting to another within a financial year, the money will remain with the original setting. The new setting is not eligible to receive DAF funding for your child within the same financial year.

Children do not have to take up their full entitlement of early education per year in order to receive the DAF.

This funding is to help the setting to provide an accessible environment which will mean your child can access his/her Early Education on the same terms as other children.


Three and Four year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and access a funded early education place.

How to apply

If your child is eligible, you will need to complete a parent agreement form. This is given to you by your chosen provider. There will be a box for you to tick if your child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. It is important that that this is ticked to ensure the setting receives this one off payment. You will also need to submit a copy of your child’s Disability Living Allowance award.

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