Childcare choices for children with SEN and disabilities

There are lots of different types of childcare to choose from. Some families use informal childcare, such as other family members, friends or neighbours. However you may also find that you need to make more formal childcare arrangements. Some childcare settings provide specialist services for disabled children, however all childcare should welcome and include disabled children.

Below are a list of options. You can search for childcare using our childcare directory or you can contact Local Area Teams Information Service (formerly York FIS) on 01904 554444 or email Local Area Teams Information Service (formerly York FIS) can provide you with a detailed list of childcare providers including the providers inclusion statement.

What are your options?


Childminders are trained, self-employed carers largely based in their own homes. They are registered with Ofsted and both the childminder and their home are regularly checked.

A childminder will normally be able to look after up to six children under eight-years-old including their own, but only three of them can be under the age of five.

Childminders are perfect if your working day doesn’t fit the 9-5, Monday to Friday pattern or if you have children of different ages and you want them to be looked after together. You may also want your child to be cared for in a home environment by just one person.

As a guideline, their charges average between £3.25 and £4.00 per hour, though some charge less, and some more.

Day nurseries

Day nurseries offer childcare and, in most cases, early education. They are for children aged from birth to five years old and some may also offer out-of-school care for five to 11-year-olds. Opening times tend to coincide with a standard working day, 8am to 6pm on weekdays. Day nurseries charge between £160 and £200 per week for a full-time place but costs vary, so it’s best to check.

Nursery schools and classes

Nursery schools offer early education and are for children between the ages of three and five. They are open during school hours, normally only in term time for full or half-day sessions. Nurseries are free if part of a state education system (excluding meals and trips). Independent schools charge fees.

As always it is best to check with the nursery school or class you’re interested in to find out about available places and their admissions policy.

Pre-school and playgroups

Usually organised by community or voluntary groups, often with the help of parents, they normally offer early education places. They give your child access to different toys, equipment and activities and ensure they mix with other children. Sessions last between two-and-a-half to four hours and take place either every day or several days a week, during term time. They are for children aged between two and five years and cost around £5 to £9 per session. Some groups now offered extended sessions and lunch clubs.

Out-of-school care

Some clubs are open before and after school and all day during school holidays. They offer a quiet space for catching up with homework as well as plenty of fun activities for children. Clubs tend to be for primary school children, but some do offer care for children up to the age of 14 (and up to 16 for children with special educational needs). Most breakfast, after school and holiday play schemes are linked to local schools.

Schools now offer a variety of activities on top of the normal school day such as music, art, sport or additional study support. Costs range between £5 and £10 a day for after-school clubs; £2.50 and £4.50 for breakfast clubs; and around £85 to £120 a week for a holiday place.

Key workers

When your child starts at any of these settings they will be appointed a key worker, who will be responsible for planning their activities. The key worker will keep a daily record of your child’s progress, which will be shared with you on a regular basis. As childminders tend to operate on their own they would be the key contact for this type of information.

Home Carers or Nannies

A home carer or nanny would be someone that looks after your children in your own home. Because they are looking after children in your own home they are not required to be registered with Ofsted but some choose to go on a voluntary register. If you go through an agency you may need to pay a finders fee. If you arrange a nanny or home childcarer directly you become their employer. This means you become responsible for recruiting an appropriate person; carrying out a criminal record check; ensuring they are trained; agreeing terms and conditions and taking care of their pay including tax and National Insurance Contributions.




York Family Information Service and Information Service for Young People

01904 554444 / 01904 555400

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