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Promoting childcare and holiday childcare provision effectively to parents who have children with SEND

Give parents as much information as possible

When parents of children with SEND are looking for information about childcare and holiday provision, more often than not they struggle to find it. When they do find your setting online, or are handed information about it, it will be more useful to parents if you can provide as much detail as possible about how their child will be supported in your setting. Here is a list of tips about what to include in your information.

Reassurance – right at the start

In the introductory part of your information, state clearly that your provision is inclusive to children with SEND, making sure to explain if it is inclusive to children with a wide range of special educational needs and disabilities, or if your provision has a particular SEND focus. For websites include a link to your latest Ofsted report so that parents can easily access it. Also include into your text any recommendations and positive comments from parents of children with SEND who have used your provision.

Aims or ethos of your provision

Set out the ethos, or aims of your provision. This should include a reassurance to parents that your setting works with parents individually to plan and arrange the particular support their child may need.

Invite parents to approach your setting early

If necessary, invite parents to come along to a taster session at your setting to discuss particular special educational or other needs their children may have so that your staff can be prepared to support their children when they start attending your setting. Acknowledge that parents are the experts on their own children and that you will work in partnership with parents to support their children’s learning, development and play. Describe how your setting gathers information from parents about their children’s needs (i.e. Do you use one-page profiles? Do you use communication passports?).

Full details of your childcare offer

Clearly outline the particular services your setting offers parents (eg hours, holiday provision, flexible provision, breakfast club, and your charges). State which age groups you cater for and how many children you can accommodate in your setting. Remember to keep this part of your website and your information with FIS up to date. State whether you offer transport, or how parents can access transport to and from your setting.

Update details of your childcare offer online now!

Staffing and childcare ratio details

Staffing of provision that is suitable for children with SEND is one of parents’ primary concerns. It is important to clearly outline the information about your staff and your staffing ratios early in your information, and to give parents as much clear detail as possible. State the use of the ‘key person system’, how you work with SENCOs/INCOs, whether you employ ‘special educational needs support workers’, and what skills, qualifications and experience your staff members have. For example, you may have a speech and language therapist on your staff or you may work with an external therapist during certain sessions of the week. Give parents as full a picture as possible of what support your setting offers. Also state which particular expertise and skills your staff members have – e.g. Makaton signing, or if you have staff who are trained in the use of PECs.

Environment and equipment

Explain what kind of special equipment you have in your setting and what outdoor facilities you offer.


Ensure there is a link on your website to your policies, including an inclusion policy, SEND policy, behaviour policy and your complaints procedure/forms.

Links with outside agencies

Show how your setting links with other professionals and outside agencies and how you can support parents to access this type of advice and support. Under the new SEND reforms, settings and schools must assist parents to set up Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) for children who have complex SEND needs. Explain to parents how you will help them to do this in partnership with the local authority.

Explain what extra support for parents is offered within your setting

Clearly state when parents can visit your setting to see their children’s progress and discuss any changes. Also, if your setting has access to specialist teachers with expertise in various special educational needs, make this clear.

Transition advice

Offer advice to parents about the transition of their child into primary school or other settings and explain how you do this.

Links with other schools, organisations

If you sometimes arrange visits to other settings or schools for support, or any other purpose related to the early education of the children in your childcare setting, explain the support clearly and how it is accessed.

Contact details

List all the relevant telephone numbers and email addresses. Include your on site details, the contact details of the local authority and any professionals or outside agencies your setting works with.