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 York Family Information Service (part of the Local Area Teams Information Service) on 01904 554444 or email York Family Information Service can provide you with a detailed list of childcare providers including the providers inclusion statement.

What are your options?


Registered childminders are professional childcarers who work in their own homes to provide care and education for other people’s children. They are registered and inspected by OFSTED.

A childminder will be able to look after up to six children under eight-years-old including their own, but only three of them can be early years children who are not in full time education.

Many childminders offer flexible working arrangements and if you have children of different ages they can be looked after together. You may also want your child to be cared for in a home environment by just one person.

Fees may be charged by the hour, session or day. Rates tend to vary across the city.

Day nurseries

Day nurseries provide care and education and are OFSTED registered. They are usually 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. Most nurseries offer sessions or full days with fees varying depending on age and settings own fee structure.

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.

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 and charges.

Pre-school and playgroups

Usually governed 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 socialise 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 usually for children aged between two and five years. Some groups offer extended sessions, before and after school and holiday 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 have links with 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 vary across the city.

Key person

When your child starts at any of these settings they will be appointed a key person, who will be responsible for supporting their needs and planning their activities. The key person 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 Childcarers or Nannies

A home childcarer 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 childcare 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 Disclosure and Barring Service check (criminal records 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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