Nurseries and school settings for SEN
Getting a child into a Special Educational Needs setting can be difficult. Frustratingly, for a child to be accepted into a local authority (LA) funded SEN nursery there must be evidence of need. This is obviously difficult to get if the child has been looked after at home. There may be private SEN schools that offer nursery places covered by the Free hours. This is something worth investigating.
Children with extra should always be welcome at mainstream nurseries, however it may take time and effort to get the extra care required in place. An LA funded 1:1 can be requested but again, there must be evidence of need. In addition, the nursery setting needs to be able to find a 1:1 to hire. Often easier said than done.
Any child that requires extra support at school or needs to attend an SEN school must have an EHCP (Educational healthcare plan). The process should be started 18 months before the child is due to start school. You must first request an EHC needs assessment. This allows the LA to decide whether an EHCP is a necessity. It is best for the nursery setting to apply for the assessment, however a parent or guardian can also apply. This website offers invaluable advice all about EHCPs and how to request an assessment. It also provides model letters to use for complaining (often a necessity) or asking for information from a school or LA.
Free nursery education
All two year olds on DLA are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year. Once the child is three they will be entitled to 30 hours if one parent is working and the other is claiming carer’s allowance. You must apply for both these entitlements.
Apply for care component of DLA
Once you have DLA you may apply for carer’s allowance
Start investigating how to start the EHCP process
Just before age three, apply for the mobility component of DLA, a Blue Badge and thirty free hours of nursery.
Ensure the assessment for an EHCP has either been started or completed.