Early years and childcare

This section will help you find information about early years, childcare and early help services if you have children up to five years old.

There are a wide range of services across the county including:

  • activities for under fives and parent support groups in and around children's centres
  • free early years education for two, three or four-year-old children
  • different types of childcare that might suit your family

What type of childcare?

Choosing when and where your child should start at an early year's setting can be daunting, especially if they need support for an additional need. There are several types of childcare (settings) you can consider:

  • a pre-school or playgroup
  • a private day nursery
  • a nursery class attached to a primary school
  • a nursery school
  • a childminder

You can find out more information about types of childcare and when your child can start (opens in a new window).

Additional support

Sometimes, a child with special educational needs or disability will need some extra support in the childcare setting you have chosen. They may need to have one to one support practicing a particular skill, or get help to access some activities. Your child might need some extra support to settle in when they first start at a setting.

The setting can apply to the local authority for some temporary additional funding. If it is agreed, this funding could be used to allow the setting to employ someone to work with your child up to five hours per week. The setting will know how to apply for this support.

What if my child will need lots of additional support?

Your child may need additional support for a longer period of time, or for more hours a week. Professionals will work with you and the setting to decide if this is the case for your child.  If it is, the local authority will carry out an assessment called a 'Education, Health, Care needs assessment'. Part of the assessment is to determine how much additional support your child will need in a setting.

If you want more information about your options, please speak to someone who is already supporting you or your child. Or you can call the early years special educational needs service, tel: 01629 533340.