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Early Years Inclusion

Early Education and Childcare Inclusion

EEC Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF) and Disability Access Fund (DAF)

All Early Education and Childcare (EEC) providers are required to have arrangements in place to identify and support disabled children and children with special educational needs (SEN) and to promote equality of opportunity for children in their care.  

The majority of children with additional needs are supported and make progress through provision available in Early Education and Childcare settings. A smaller number of children may have emerging needs requiring additional support and may be eligible for additional funding to support them to access an early education or childcare provider.  

The additional funding available, where eligible, is paid directly to the EEC provider:

  • EEC Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF) for 2, 3 and 4 year olds
  • Disability Access Fund (DAF) for 3 and 4 year olds

Children can receive both SENIF and DAF.  Where a child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), they are not eligible for SENIF.

SENIF is available for children with emerging needs who are accessing funding entitlements (Early Learning for 2 year olds, universal 3 and 4 year olds or extended hours). 

The fund is used by the early years provider to support children in the provision.

Funding can be used in a variety of ways which may include purchasing equipment, making adaptations, accessing training and enhancing staffing (it is not for one to one support).   

The EEC provider is expected to involve parent/carers in discussions and planning to support their child.  Where providers consider an application for SENIF would be helpful, parent/carers must give their consent. The provider will discuss with parent/carers how the funding could be used to support their child.   

EEC providers are regularly updated regarding SENIF eligibility and application process. 

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is funding for early education and childcare providers to support children with disabilities or special educational needs. It aids access to Free Entitlement places for early years by supporting providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings.

For further information on early learning and childcare funding please go to Early learning and childcare funding