Services for Young Children

Help for parents of children with additional needs

If families meet the criteria there is support available for children with additional needs.

What is it? (SEN Funding)

Funding for additional needs in an early years education/ childcare provision.

Who is eligible?

  • The funding is for children who would be appropriately placed in a SEN funded place in a maintained nursery class, but a place is not available because of distance or lack of available places or parents have chosen a local early years education (EYE) provider instead and the group is able to meet the child’s needs

  • For a child that fulfils the Portage criteria

  • For a child who’s needs are recognised as requiring SEN support from the SEND Code of Practice 0 - 25 (2014)

  • For a child who is in the academic year in which they turn four years old or the academic year in which they turn three years old. (Payment will also be considered for a younger child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). In exceptional circumstances payment will also be considered for a Year R child who has not yet reached statutory school age where attendance at a pre-school setting is the clear parental preference.)

What is it for?

  • It is often assumed that the funding should be used to provide individual one to one support for the child. In fact a more flexible approach is often more appropriate. For example, some funding may be needed to provide differentiated resources or SEN equipment for the child or to ensure that the child is able to work with one or more other children in a small group. Generally the resources should be used flexibly to ensure that the child’s needs are met.

  • Area Inclusion Co-ordinators, Portage workers and other educational professionals will be able to offer advice on using the funding and have responsibility for monitoring how the funding is used

  • Where appropriate, the Area Inclusion Co-ordinators can advise the EYE provider about seeking specialist outreach support.

How much?

  • During the academic year in which a child becomes three years of age, the normal level of support is a maximum of five hours per week up until the end of the term in which the child becomes three years of age (i.e. he or she becomes eligible for EYE funding). However, families in receipt of early years education 2 Year Old funding can apply for up to 15 hours per week.

  • From the end of the term in which the child becomes three years of age the support may be increased to a maximum of 15 hours per week. In any grant period (academic term) funding can be claimed for the number of weeks in that academic term. However, the total number of weeks funded in any academic year cannot exceed the pattern of take up of the EYE scheme (up to 15 hours per week for up to 38 weeks per academic year).

  • Funded sessions are normally only accessed at one EYE provider. However, if the setting is unable to provide 15 hours of support per week, then exceptionally, consideration may be given to funding some hours in another setting providing a key professional assumes responsibility for ensuring consistency between the two placements (for example a Portage home visitor, opportunity group SENCO, Area Inclusion Co-ordinator).

  • Information about the actual number of hours per week to be funded is collected at the same time as the information needed for claiming early years education grant as part of the head count form.

  • The basic hourly rate of the contribution reflects the setting’s Single Funding Formula (SFF) rate. In exceptional circumstances, where there is evidence to support the likelihood of the need for a statutory assessment and the child has complex special educational needs, (for example two different and independent special educational needs or complex physical disabilities which would merit a special school placement or profound and multiple learning difficulties) enhanced or double funding may be considered.

How to apply?

  • Childcare providers request funding through their local development team contacts for Inclusion or Portage.


What is it? (CHIF Funding)

Funding for additional needs in an early years education/ childcare provision.

What is it for?

  • The ‘Childcare Inclusion Funding’ (ChIF) grant is available to childcare providers to allow them to develop their inclusive practice ensuring that all children irrespective of their additional needs can be included. ChIF is not available for 3 and 4 year olds in receipt of SEN funding.

  • The level of funding available is agreed on a needs led basis and can go towards resources, training and staff ratios.

How much?

  • Childcare providers are able to apply for additional funding to contribute towards providing specialist resources, attending training opportunities and improving staff/child ratios. The ChIF grant is limited and all applications will be looked at individually.

How to apply?

Childcare providers request funding through their local Area Inclusion Co ordinator service.


What is it? (Disability Living Allowance)

Only children under 16 can now claim for Disability Living Allowance. Anyone over 16 must apply for Personal Independence Payment.

  • For children who need a lot more help or supervision than other children of the same age.

  • Not affected by savings or any other income received.

  • Can claim for mobility needs if:

    • age three, if child is unable, or virtually unable, to walk

    • age three, if child is assessed to be both 100% disabled because of loss of eyesight and not less than 80% disabled because of deafness

    • age three, if child is severely mentally impaired with severe behavioural problems and qualifies for the highest rate of care component

    • age five, if child needs guidance or supervision when walking out of doors.

How much?

  • Disability Living Allowance consists of a Care Allowance and a Mobility Allowance

  • Weekly rates start from £21.80 up to £82.30 as of 2015/16 depending on severity of need

How to apply?

What is it? (Carer's Allowance)

  • Taxable benefit that can be paid to people over 16 years.

  • Amount given can affect some other benefits.

  • To qualify should be spending at least 35 hours a week looking after a child receiving the middle or highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance.

How much?

  • The weekly rate is £62.10 as of 2015/16.

  • This is reduced by the amount of certain other benefits, including State Pension received.

How to apply?


What is it? (Direct Payments/ Personal Budgets/Personal Independence Payments)

  • Cash payments from the local authority for parents of disabled children to buy their own support and care.

How much?

  • Amount varies depending on need.

How to apply?

Further Information


What is it? (Family Fund)

Helps families of disabled or seriously ill children under 17 years by giving grants and information relating to the care of the child.

  • Grants can be for holidays, leisure, laundry equipment, driving lessons, etc.

  • Receive applications from families who are in receipt of one of the following: Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, or Pension Credit.

How much?

  • Amount varies depending on need.

  • All grants from the Family Fund are discretionary and subject to available funding.

How to apply?