Financial support for childcare providers

All children develop and learn in different ways and at varying rates; however they will all have areas of strengths and special interest along with areas that need supporting. A child may have a special educational need if despite the childcare provider providing appropriate activities and a play plan; they continue to experience greater difficulty in learning than their peers.

Childcare providers can apply for funding for a child in their care with special educational needs. This funding will provide financial support to initiate and deliver the special educational provision that is 'additional to and different from' the support made generally available to other children of the same age.

Types of funding available to support children with special educational needs in setting

From September 2023 Salford EY-SEND-IF has replaced all previous Salford Local Authority Early Years funding streams (SENIF, Bursary, Complex needs) and is available to support a setting to meet the needs of a child(ren) with complex needs / disabilities who require something beyond that which is ordinarily available in the setting. Please note that Disability Access Fund (DAF) remains unchanged as this is a direct fund from DFE. (see tab further down this page).

The term Early Years Setting refers to Private, Voluntary and Independent Providers, Childminders and Nursery Classes in Maintained Schools and Academies.

Early Years SEND Inclusion Fund

Early Years SEND Inclusion Fund (EY-SEND-IF)

Starting Life Well have secured funding to support children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) accessing early education and childcare. The funding is limited each financial year and we cannot guarantee that it will be available each term.

The funding should be used as a contribution to providing additional support, training, resources or equipment to ensure that the child is able to participate in activities with other children.

How do I apply?

All childcare settings will be required to complete an SEN return. This return is available termly via the Provider Portal.

Guidance to completing the return is available to download from the bottom of the page.

All Early Years Settings in Salford who are eligible to access two, three and four year old funding can apply for EY-SEND-IF where they:

  • have a two, three, four year old with a diagnosed or under investigation or diagnosis special educational needs and disabilities (who does not have an EHCP); and
  • attends an Ofsted registered setting in Salford
  • has detailed supporting evidence
  • has been discussed with
    • Starting Life Well Early Years SEND Advisor for a child in a PVIs
    • The School SENCO plus at least one outside agency (such as Physio, OT, Paediatrician, educational psychologists) Maintained School and Academy nurseries School

How much is it?

Funding is available for Early Years Settings who meet the requirement as outlined above and is dependent on the extent of free entitlement the child is accessing at two, three or four years old or the amount of time a non-funded child is attending for.

EY-SEND-IF payment is either a one-off payment for a specific training need/ equipment or a termly payment to support specific needs of a child in the setting. The child must not be accessing EHCP funding.

There is a finite funding allocated for the purpose of EY-SEND-IF each year.

Tier one

Tier one must:

  • Be a child with emerging complex needs (children on two, three and four funding at the 'in need of more help' stage in the graduated response (Adobe PDF format). This must be evidenced in the application).
    • An Early Help Assessment must be considered/ started
    • Must be accessing free entitlement where eligible
Tier Criteria Allocation available per term (pro rate if applied mid-term):
Tier 1A Must be accessing their 15 hour free entitlement or at least 15 hours of non-funded hours £300
Tier 1B Must be accessing the free government funded 30 hours or at least 30 hours of non-funded hours £600

Tier two

Tier Two must:

  • Be a child with emerging complex needs (children on two, three and four funding at the 'getting risk support' stage in the graduated response (Adobe PDF format)
  • Have an Early Help Assessment in place
  • Must be accessing their full free entitlement hours where eligible
Tier Criteria Allocation available per term (pro rate if applied mid-term):
Tier 2A

Must meet all the following:

  • Input from at least one external professional
  • The Early Years Setting is offering a minimum of 15 hour per week to the child.
  • Complex education needs*, usually have an identified delay in two or more prime areas of learning (CL, PSED and PD) by the following amounts:
    • Two years old – 12 month delay
    • Three years old – 18 month delay
    • Four years old – 24 months delay
£1,000 (up to £3,000 per year)
Tier 2B

Must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must have input from two or more external professionals
  • The Early Years Setting is offering a minimum of 15 hours per week to the child.
  • The child must be in receipt of DLA
  • The child may have complex education needs, usually have an identified delay in two or more prime areas of learning (CL, PSED and PD) by the following amounts:
    • Two years old – a delay of 12 months or more
    • Three years old – a delay of 18 months or more
    • Four years old – a delay of 24 months or more

Plus must meet one of the following:

  • The child has a complex medical care plan
  • The child has a high needs risk assessment in place due to the increased risk identified to the child, setting or others attending the setting.   

£1,250 (up to £3,750 per year)

Apply online

How will the EY-SEND-IF be monitored?

Each setting should have a clear approach to monitoring progress and development of their children. You should review and evaluate the quality and breadth of the support you offer and explore how different types of need can be met effectively. You may wish to discuss your review with your Early Years Inclusion advisor, school SENCO or any other professionals involved with the child.

Each Early Years Setting must monitor how they have used the EY-SEND-IF and how the child has progressed, this should be submitted termly online (see below)

  • Ensure that they have allocated a member of staff as lead support (i.e. Key Worker/ SEND support worker/ SENCO/ TA/ SLA)
  • Fill in a EY-SEND-IF return each term in order to outline the work/ support that has been completed with the child
  • Demonstrate on how the additional resource is being utilised with regards to specific strategies / interventions (i.e. It is not enough to state one to one support, it needs to be clearly illustrated what the one to one support is focusing upon, skills being developed and outcomes that they are working towards).
  • Monitor the progress of the child and ensure that outcomes are reviewed at least termly through the SEN Support Plan Assess-Plan-Do-Review cycle, linking back to the Salford Graduated Approach documentation.

Settings must also inform the Starting Life Well service if there are any changes in the circumstances of the child (for example if the child changes the number of hours that s/he attends the early years setting or leaves the setting.

Review online

Disability Access Fund (DAF)

How I claim the DAF for my setting:

  • Child must already be on three and four year old funding
  • You will need to discuss with parents if their child is in receipt of DLA
  • If they are they will need to share a copy of the DLA letter with you and
  • complete the parental agreement form giving your setting permission to claim the funding

How to apply

Access your Disability Access Fund Module on the Provider Portal

  • Click on the DAF button
  • Select the childcare and service
  • Press Continue

You can use the 'find a child' filter to find a child already attending your setting and select them. If the required child is not listed they can be added. You will need to enter the child’s details when requested.

(Note - if a child is not eligible or has already been approved the system will not allow you to select them).

You will then be asked to provide proof that the child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The system allows you to upload a copy of the DLA award. Please note we only usually need the first page of the award letter uploading, as this page is usually the one that states they are in receipt of DLA. You can upload a photo or a scanned document.

You do have the option to send by post but only in exceptional circumstances our preferred method is for you to upload the evidence as this is a secure way to send us the information.

  • Details in support of your claim

In this box you must confirm that you have got the Parent/Carer permission to apply for this funding via the Parent Contract. The wording we require you to use is:

‘I confirm that I have the Parent/Carer permission to apply for this funding and the Parent/Carer has signed the Parent Contract to this effect’.

  • Summary page

Gives you the opportunity to review the information you are submitting and a confirmation tick box that all the information is correct.

Click 'Submit' and 'Finish' buttons.

Scan Zone

Scan Zone

Upload your evidence to the Starting Life Well service, such as a DLA eligibility statement, Universal Credit statement or funding forms and agreements. You can do so by visiting one of our Scan Zones. Scan Zones are located in all the Gateways and Broughton Hub, they are touch screen, tablet devices that allow customers to self-scan documents.

Read more about Scan Zones

This page was last updated on 25 September 2023

Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in the Early Years

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