Early years and childcare

This section of our Local Offer provides information about early years support and childcare for children with SEND, and their families.

Your child’s early years are a very important time for their development. Many parents see their child meet the expected milestones with no cause for concern. However, some people may be worried and want to seek further help and advice.

If your child is experiencing difficulties with walking, talking, toilet training, weight gain, behaviour or any aspect of their learning, contact your GP or health visitor in the first instance.

View further information about how to get a diagnosis if you are worried about your child.


Early years education and SEND

All providers of early years education, such as day nurseries, pre-schools, playgroups and registered childminders, are required to follow the special educational needs and disability code of practice 0-25 years.

They must have arrangements in place to identify and assess children with SEND and they should publish a Local Offer explaining how they do this. We have produced a set of minimum standards that they should be meeting.

Early years settings have a duty to:

  • Make sure your child gets the support they need
  • Support your child to enable them to engage in early education activities alongside other children
  • Designate a member of staff to be the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
  • Inform and involve parents in decision-making
  • Promote equality of opportunity for disabled children, under the Equality Acto 2010

Family focused support

In Brent there are a range of services for families who have young children with SEND. This might involve you being supported by a key worker, who will assess what sort of help you may need and work in partnership with you to put appropriate services in place.

  • Portage - a free home visiting service for pre-school children with a disability or additional needs from birth to four years old.
  • Family Solutions Service - confidential advice and support for families with children aged 0 to 18 (up to 19 for young people with disabilities)
  • Children’s centres - where you can access a range of services including speech and language therapy and SEND parent support groups
  • Parenting courses - including courses for children with SEND
  • Parent and toddler groups


If you are looking for childcare, we can help you find:

If you would like to talk to someone about your options contact Brent’s Children and Families Information Service (CFIS), which holds details of all registered providers in the borough.

Funded early education places

When your child is two years old, they may be able to get free early education. You may be eligible if you are on a low income, in receipt of benefits or your child has a disability or additional needs. All three and four- year-olds are also eligible for a Nursery Education Grant for 15 hours per week, regardless of circumstance.

From September 2017, working families can access an additional 15 hours free early education.

Early years settings can claim an extra £615 in funding for three and four-year-old children who are receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA). If this applies to you, please let your early years setting know when your child starts.

They will use the additional funding to support your child’s learning. Please note that it can only be claimed once per year, so if you use more than one childcare provider during the year, only one setting will be entitled to claim. You can select which childcare provider you want to receive the funding when you complete your parental declaration when enrolling your child.