Find out what funding you can get to help pay your childcare costs and help support your child's needs.

local offer logo There are many different types of support available to help you access the childcare you want in an affordable way.

The sections below provide a summary of eligibility for all funding for children with a special educational need and or a disability.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Free early education for 2 year olds

You can get this funding if:

  • your child gets Disability Living Allowance
  • has an education, health and care plan
  • you are in receipt of various benefits such as Tax Credits and Income Support.

Find out more about 2 year old funding

2. Free early education for 3 and 4 year olds

All 3 and 4 year olds are eligible for 15 hours of free early education funding.

Find out more about 3 and 4 year old funding

Early years pupil premimum

The early years pupil premium is additional funding for early years settings to improve the education they provide for some 3 and 4-year-olds

3. Funding for working parents

30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

This funding entitles working parents to an extra 15 hours of free childcare, on top of their free early education hours.

Find out more about 30 hours free childcare

Tax-Free Childcare

If your child has a disability:

  • you can get this funding up until they're 17 years old
  • for every £8 you put into your childcare account the government will put in an extra £4.

Find out more about Tax-Free Childcare

Childcare voucher scheme

Parents who work for employers who take part in the childcare voucher scheme can get childcare vouchers to pay for childcare in exchange for a lower salary.

You may be eligible if your child is under 15, or under 16 if your child has a disability, and you get a regular salary. You must also be the legal guardian of the child.

Find out more about the childcare voucher scheme

Tax credits

If you get Working Tax Credit, and you and your partner each work at least 16 hours a week, you can claim back up to 70 per cent of your eligible childcare costs. If your child is disabled you can claim for children up to 17 years old.

You can't claim Universal Credits, tax credits or Tax-Free Childcare at the same time. Find out more about Working Tax Credits.

You may be eligible for Child Tax Credit, even if you're not working. Find out more about Child Tax Credits.

Universal Credits

You can currently claim Universal Credit if you're either a single parents (living anywhere in the UK) or couple or family living in certain areas.

You must also:

  • be 18 or over
  • be under State Pension age
  • not be in full time education or training
  • not have savings over £16,000.

You can't claim Universal Credits, tax credits or tax free childcare at the same time.

Find out more about Universal Credits

4. Disability Access Fund

What is the Disability Access Fund (DAF)?

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is money childcare providers can use to support children with disabilities or special educational needs.

The aim of the DAF is to help give children who are disabled, access to free childcare by making reasonable adjustments to their settings or helping with building capacity.

All chosen providers will get one payment of £615 per year per eligible child.

Who can get the funding?

Three and 4 year olds can get the Disability Access Fund if they:

  • receive the disability living allowance (DLA)
  • access free early education at the early years provider.

Children do not need to take up all their 570 early years entitlement hours to be get the DAF.

Four-year olds in primary school reception classes are not eligible for DAF funding.

How to claim the DAF

Providers will need to find out whether their parents receive DLA funding.

To do so:

  1. Providers should speak to existing parents to find out if they get the funding.

  2. If they do get DLA, providers will need to see and get a copy of their DLA award letter for their records.

  3. Once seen, the provider will need to complete the DAF Application Form and provide relevant information.

How early years providers will receive DAF funding

We will fund all early years settings providing a place for each child eligible for the DAF in their area at the fixed annual rate of £615 per eligible child.

The DAF will not be offset against any other funding which we may ordinarily provide for children eligible for the DAF.

The DAF is payable as a lump sum once a year per eligible child. If a child eligible for the DAF is splitting their free entitlement across two or more providers, the local authority will ask parents to nominate the main setting.

This setting will be where the local authority will pay the DAF for the child.

If a child receiving DAF moves from one setting to another within a financial year, the new setting is not eligible to receive DAF funding for this child within the same financial year.

DAF funding received by the original setting will not be recouped by the local authority.

Where a child lives in one authority area but attends a provider in a different local authority, the provider’s local authority is responsible for funding the DAF for the child and eligibility checking.

All early years providers who are eligible to receive funding for the 3- and 4-year-old early entitlement education are also eligible to receive the DAF.

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

5. Early Years Inclusion Fund

What is the Early Years Inclusion Fund

The Early Years Inclusion Fund is for early years providers to help them support the needs of individual children with lower level or emerging SEN.

Who is it for?

The Early Years Inclusion Fund is to support 3 and 4 year olds who:

  • get free early education funding
  • are behind their expected level of development by 6months+ in at least 2 areas of learning.

The funding is for use in the setting and will be given to the provider.

The funding is not for:

  • 2 year old’s receiving free early education funding
  • children with more complex needs and those in receipt of an education, health and care plan – they continue to be eligible to receive funding from the high needs block of the DSG.

How much is available and how is it being used?

For this financial year (2020-21), there is a maximum fund of £389,000 available for children in Lambeth. This amount will be reviewed at the end of the financial year.

Part of the funding has been used to purchase toilet training by ERIC, which will be rolled out across the borough for all early years settings to access. It has also bought in 50 educational psychologist visits from September 2020 – March 2021. The additional professional support will be available for early years providers to help them support the needs of individual children with lower level or emerging SEN.

The remainder of the funding with be given to early years settings.

*All training and setting visits will be subject to local and national guidance during and following coronavirus outbreak.

Banding levels Annual amount (pro rota) Termly amount Additional professional support
Band 1 - Children who are 6months+ delay working below their expected level in 2 areas of development. £1500 £500 Quality improvement officer, Early years SEN manager, Early years educational psychologist (available from the Autumn Term only)

How to claim the Early Years Inclusion Fund

Early years providers are responsible for identifying eligible children.

Providers will need to complete an application form and demonstrate how they are meeting the child’s needs and monitoring progress during their time at the setting.

Providers will need parent’s signed or verbal consent before submitting the application form.

All applications should be sent to adhering to the timeframes below.

Term Application period opens Application period closes
Summer term Open Open
Autumn term Open 23 October 2020
Spring term 1 January 2021 22 January 2021

What can settings use the Early Years Inclusion Fund for?

The funding is to put in low level, early support to improve outcomes for the child and reduce longer term costs.

Examples of how providers can use the Early Years Inclusion Fund include:

  • extra staff time to support specific interventions
  • specialist or one-off extra training, or to upskill a team or staff member
  • specialist support, such as speech and language therapy, which may benefit more than one child
  • support for coordinating key worker duties, such as team around the child
  • helping children who are transitioning to school. This could be by spending time at the school and releasing key workers to support the process
  • support to produce resources for specific children where they may not need one-to-one worker support.

For more information on the Early Years Inclusion Fund please see downloadable detailed guidance and resources below.

If you have any questions you can email us on