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Education 0-5 years

A child has special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.  All early years settings in Barking and Dagenham are inclusive and will work with you to meet your child's needs.

SEND early years support guide (PDF, 230KB)

Education, health care and planning 

If your child has a high level of need, they will require a more specialist assessment, known as an Education Care and Health assessment, to assess whether your child may need more specialist provision.  This will come through a personalised plan known as an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC).

Find out more about health care and planning

Disability Access Fund

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is available to early years providers to support children with special educational needs (SEN). It is to help them make reasonable adjustments to their setting and/or help with building capacity in order to aid the access for children with disabilities or SEN.

Eligibility criteria

3 and 4 year olds are eligible for DAF support if they are receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and universal or extended free early learning education in Barking and Dagenham. Children do not need to take up all of their 570 early years entitlement hours to claim DAF.

4 year olds in primary school reception are not entitled to the DAF.

Assessing eligibility

It is the responsibility of the childcare provider to identify children who may be eligible by discussing this with the parents. Once the childcare provider has confirmed the child is eligible the parents will need to provide a copy of the DLA confirmation letter as proof of eligibility to them.


DAF is paid as a lump sum of £615, once a year per eligible child, to the childcare provider.

If the eligible child is splitting their free entitlement across two or more providers, the parent will be asked to nominate the main setting.  The local authority will fund the eligible childcare provider that the parent has nominated. If the child attends a childcare provider in a different local authority to the one they reside in, it will be the  childcare provider’s local authority who is responsible for funding the child.

If a child moves from one childcare provider to another within the same financial year the new childcare provider will be unable to claim for that child until the following year. The funding can not be transferred between early years settings and will not move with the child if the child moves settings.

Support in early years settings

All early years settings in receipt of government funding for 2, 3 and 4 year olds have a special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) or inclusion coordinator. They will talk to you about your child’s needs and how the setting can best support them. It is their responsibility to coordinate support for your child in the setting and to liaise with other professionals to ensure that all the needs of your child are planned for and met.

Every early years setting has a named early years advisory teacher and an inclusion advisor. There is also a specialist early years advisory teacher for SEN children and a specialist teacher of the deaf.

The majority of children’s needs can be met through universal support in an early years setting. However sometimes children need additional support and settings can apply for inclusion funding from the council to help them support individual children, dependent on their level of need.

There are two levels of funding, enhanced and targeted, explained in detail in our universal entitlement banding guide.

Universal entitlement banding guide (PDF, 525KB)

Where a setting identifies a child as having SEN they must work in partnership with parents to establish the support the child needs. This does not necessarily need to be an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

The needs of children between the ages of 0 and 2 can change quickly, and meeting their needs through the support set out in the Local Offer (for example, provision of key working support) may be more valuable to parents at this time than an EHC needs assessment.

Where an early years setting or school makes special educational provision for a child with SEN they must inform the parents and should adopt a graduated approach with four stages of action: assess, plan, do, and review. This process is explained in our SEND support notification for early years guide.

SEND early years support guide (PDF, 230KB)

Nurseries for children with complex SEN or who are disabled

There are 2 mainstream school nurseries which have additional resources to provide specialist early support for children with more complex SEN or who are disabled, to prepare them for school.


Godwin Additionally Resourced Provision Nursery, Finnymore Road, Dagenham RM9 6JH

020 8270 4150

16 part-time places


Valence Additionally Resourced Provision Nursery, Bonham Road, Dagenham RM8 3AR

020 8270 6506

16 part-time places


Allocation of nursery places

Places at the nurseries are allocated via the Education, Health and Care Panel.

Education, Health and Care Pane, 2nd Floor, Barking Town Hall, Town Hall Square, 1 Clockhouse Avenue, Barking IG11 7LU

020 8227 2400