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Choosing childcare for school aged children with SEND

How to find childcare for school children aged 4-18 years and what you should check if your child has special educational needs or a disability.

Out of School Clubs

Before and after school care and holiday clubs offer Ofsted registered childcare for school aged children and are inclusive for children with SEND. They are often referred to as ‘Out of School’ Clubs or ‘Kids’ Clubs. They are run by either private companies, charities or by schools. Some offer a focus on a particular activity, such as sport or performing arts and may be referred to as a ‘Camp’. They can include children from ages 4-16 years (this can vary between providers).

From 16 years+ we can support the young person to access an adult day care provision if they are able to offer an appropriate service for a young person of this age. Each case will be considered individually (criteria applies).

If your child with SEND requires additional support to keep them safe, to support them with their independence skills or something else, the Club Leader can apply for Out of School Inclusion Funding as a contribution towards additional staffing, an essential resource, or training for a health care task (criteria applies). Please speak to your childcare provider if you think that this would be of benefit to your child. It is their responsibility to apply for the funding they require to accept your child.


Childminders offer childcare in their own homes and need to be registered with Ofsted. Some have a particular interest in caring for children with SEND outside of school hours. They may work independently or employ an assistant. If your child with SEND requires one-to-one support and the childminder has an assistant who can offer this, they can then apply for Out of School Inclusion Funding as a contribution towards this assistant, an essential resource, or training for a health care task (criteria applies).

Finding suitable childcare

Ofsted registered childcare can be found in the Childcare Directory.

Also look at what is being offered in your local area, as some holiday clubs which focus on a particular activity or operate in leisure centres may not be registered in our directory. 

When selecting a childcare provision on the Childcare Directory, you will find a link to their most current Ofsted Report and in many cases a ‘SEND Report’ which will outline the support that they can offer a child with SEND. As part of your selection, you may like to ask them additional questions about how they will support your child’s individual needs.

Paying for childcare

You are usually required to pay for childcare but you may be able to receive help with childcare costs

Use the childcare calculator to find out if help is available for your family.

What to do if you are unable to access childcare

If you are finding it difficult to access childcare for your school aged child with SEND, the Play and Leisure Inclusion Officer can support you to find a suitable setting. The Officer can also work with the childcare provider to apply for Out of School Inclusion Funding (criteria applies) and support them with the inclusion of your child. They can be contacted through the Childcare Duty Desk by phone: 0116 3057136 or email:

All childcare settings need to have regard to the Equalities Act 2010 when asked to include a child with SEND in their setting.

The Equalities Act 2010 Section 20 explains the duty for a provision to make reasonable adjustments for a person with a disability.

If you wish to complain because you are unable to find a childcare place for your child with SEND, please follow our complaint procedure.

How to raise a concern about a childcare provision

If you have a concern with the quality of the childcare provided by a setting, please follow the Ofsted guidance on how to raise this.

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