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Disability Access Fund (DAF) - Information for Practitioners

The Disability Access Fund was introduced in April 2017 to ‘enable Early Year’s Providers to anticipate and make reasonable adjustments to their provision and increase the capacity to support disabled children and children with special educational needs’.

3 and 4 year old children are eligible if they receive free Early Years Education and if they are in receipt of Disability Living allowance. DAF provides the Early Years Setting an additional annual amount of £800 per child for those who are eligible.

This funding is not transferable to other settings e.g. If the child leaves before the end of the financial year this money can’t be moved over to a new setting and if the child attends more than one setting it is up to the parent to decide where this funding should go – it cannot be split between both settings

How do we identify eligible children?

The Early Years Provider is ultimately responsible for identifying eligible children, however if you are unsure whether a child is in receipt of disability living allowance it is important ask parents in a sensitive way. Some settings have produced a poster that gives parents information about the DAF and others have added to newsletters/websites.

If parents want to know whether their child is eligible for DLA Contact a Family has a very helpful website that provides support and advice for families of children with additional needs including a specific section on Disability Living Allowance

How do we access this?

A parent of a child in receipt of DLA will need to produce a copy of the DLA notice to the provider; the provider will take a copy to keep for their records. The provider must also scan and send a copy through to the Funding team at Gloucestershire County Council who will pay them the DAF amount, independently to the headcount claims.

What can we use the funding for?

This funding is to ensure that you are able to effectively support child/children with disabilities so it can be used in a number of ways. It is important to stress that the funding is not to be used to provide 1:1 support. If it is felt that a child needs additional support above and beyond what can be provided from DAF please contact your SEND Early Help Advisor for further information

There are lots of things you can do in your setting to make it easier for you to safely include and support children with additional needs and SEN
It is highly recommended that having a whole setting Total Communication approach for all children regardless of their age or developmental ability should be embedded within every Early Years Setting/provision in Gloucestershire. This training can be delivered to whole settings if necessary. For more information either contact your SEND Early Help Advisor or visit Gloucestershire Total Communication Website

A list of local resources/training that you could use the Disability Access Fund for are suggested below:

The Educational Psychology Service provides a diverse range of training opportunities including:
 Play and learning to Socialise Skills Programme
 Introduction to Pathological Demand Avoidance
 Video Interaction Guidance
 Emotion Coaching
 Autism and Communication Needs Professional Support Forums
 Early Years Screening and Interaction (EY EaSI)
For further information including how to book onto a training course please follow these links:

The Advisory Teaching Service has a wealth of training sessions that are specific to Early Years Practitioners/Providers

The organisation Active Impact provides free Inclusion Needs You training for practitioners who are or is interested in working with disabled children or young people within Gloucestershire. For further information visit their website or email them on

Resources from Action for Children - Area of Need 1 (Communication and Interaction)

Resources from Action for Children - Area of Need 2 (Cognition and Learning)

Resources from Action for Children - Area of Need 3 (Sensory)

Resources from Action for Children - Area of Need 4 (Social Emotional and Mental Health)

Association of infant Mental Health (AIMH)

Young Minds

KCA Training

Further Workforce Development

Workforce Strategy


Nasen On-line learning and webcasts for early years providers:   

SSAT Online training materials and downloadable fact sheets and briefing packs in relation to children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities.

Online training materials for autism; dyslexia; speech, language and communication; emotional, social and behavioral difficulties; moderate learning difficulties.

Information for Parents

SEN and Disability Information and Guidance

Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years

(Early years providers, chapter 5)

Early years: Guide to the 0 to 25 SEND code of practice: Advice for early years providers that are funded by the local authority. DfE, September 2014


Disabled Children and the Equality Act 2010

Disabled Children and the Equality Act 2010: What Early Years providers need to know and do, including responsibilities to disabled children under the Children and Families Act 2014

SEN and disability in the early years: a toolkit

Council for Disabled Children and 4Children

Research and Reports

Childcare for families with disabled children

Disabled children’s cognitive development in the early years

Maximising the impact of teaching assistants and other research

Parliamentary Inquiry into childcare for disabled children:

The Inquiry held three oral evidence sessions and put out a call for written evidence, which received 35 responses from organisations representing parents, providers and local authorities as well as almost 1200 responses from individual parent carers:

Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) 

Early education use and child outcomes up to age 3

Meeting the Needs of Children with SEND in Early Years 

 Good Practice in Early Education

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