Childcare funding for children with SEND

This page is all about childcare funding for children and young people with SEND aged from age 2 to 17. It includes:

Funding for parents and cares

  • free early education for 2 year-olds 
  • free early education for 3 and 4 year-olds 
  • funding for working parents and carers

Funding for providers

  • Early years pupil premium
  • Disability Access Fund 
  • Early Years Inclusion Fund 

Funding for parents and carers

Free early education for 2 year-olds

This is for young children:

  • who get Disability Living Allowance
  • with an education, health and care (EHC) plan
  • whose parents get benefits including Tax Credits, Universal Credit and Income Support

Learn more about funding for 2 year olds

Free early education for 3 and 4 year-olds

All 3 and 4 year-olds can get 15 free hours of nursery, childminding, preschool, or school reception classes.

Learn more about funding for 3 and 4 year-olds

Funding for working parents and carers

30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year-olds  

Working parents and carers can get 15 extra hours of free childcare, on top of their free early education hours.

Learn more about 30 hours of free childcare

Tax-Free Childcare

Parents of children with a disability:

  • can get funding until they're 17 years old
  • for every £8 put into a childcare account, the government adds an extra £4.

Learn more about Tax-Free Childcare

Childcare voucher scheme

Some employers offer childcare vouchers to help pay for childcare. Working parents and carers of disabled under 16s can get this funding.

Learn more about the childcare voucher scheme

Tax credits

Working parents and carers who get Working Tax Credit can get back up to 70% of childcare costs. This is for disabled children and young people up to 17 years old. 

Learn more about Working Tax Credits

Funding for childcare providers

Early years pupil premium

Nurseries and other providers can get extra money to help improve the children's experience. 

Learn more about early years pupil premium

Disability Access Fund 

Disability Access Fund (DAF) helps childcare providers support under 4s with SEND who get disability living allowance (DLA) and use free early education at nurseries, childminders and pre-schools, but not in school reception classes.

Providers can get £615 per year for each child with SEND. DAF can pay for changes to the building or extra places for young children with SEND. 

How to claim the DAF 

Providers need to ask parents who get DLA for a copy of the DLA award letter. Then they can fill in the DAF application form.

Providers can get up to £615 per child per year. If a child gets childcare in more than one place, only the main provider can claim. DAF should be claimed from the local authority where the provider is based.

If a child moves from one provider to another in a financial year, the new provider can’t claim DAF in that year. The old provider won’t have to pay any money back.

For more information on how early years providers can access this funding, please email

Early Years Inclusion Fund 

The Early Years Inclusion Fund helps early years providers support the needs of individual children with lower-level or emerging SEN. 

Learn more about the Early Years Inclusion Fund