SEND and funded childcare

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) may be entitled to funded childcare from as early as the age of two.

The funded childcare can be taken at a local authority approved early years setting, such as a nursery, pre-school or childminder. 

Funded early education for two year olds must be applied for and is only available to two year olds who meet the qualifying criteria.

All three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours of funded early education a week for 38 weeks of an academic year, regardless of parent’s financial circumstances or nationality.  This offer may be increased to 30 hours of funded early education for eligible working parents.

Additional funding

The childcare provider may also apply for additional funding to support children with special educational needs and disabilities to access early education. 

  • Disabled access funding (DAF)

    A one-off payment of £615 per year for three and four year old children who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance.  This is paid to the provider.

  • SEN inclusion fund

All Local Authorities are required to establish an inclusion fund in their local funding system for 3 and 4 year olds with SEND taking up their funded entitlement.  In Leicester City we have Element 3 funding in our current funding system.  This funding is available for children with SEND in settings in the Private Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector who claim nursery funded early education entitlement (FEEE), for the children in their care, including Nursery (Foundation 1) provision in schools.  This fund is available for any child with additional needs who may need extra support to access nursery education. This funding is additional to FEEE.   In Leicester City this fund is available for 2 year olds as well as 3 and 4 year olds and in some circumstances, funding may be given to children under 2 if they have complex medical needs and/or significant sensory impairment.

For further details please discuss with the SENCO at your child’s setting.



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