Types of childcare

Childcare options for children with SEND

Childcare may be essential to you for a number of reasons:

  • You may want to work outside of the home
  • You may want to study or take some time out of your caring role

For children, high quality childcare can also bring many advantages, for example increasing their social and play skills and helping them become more independent.  

Arranging childcare for your child 

All childcare providers in the borough are inclusive and will work with you to ensure that they can best meet your child's needs. We recommend that families visit and speak to a variety of providers to find an environment that their child will enjoy. Childcare providers will arrange this if you contact them to ask to visit. 

Some group childcare settings such as nurseries and after-school clubs will have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). When you are contacting childcare settings, ask to speak to the SENCo and discuss how they can meet the needs of your child, including any additional equipment, language support or other assistance they may need. Childcare providers should make "reasonable adjustments" to their services so that your child has access to the same activities as anyone else. 

What to look for when visiting childcare and play settings

Below are some questions you may wish to consider asking when visiting a childcare or play setting, such as a holiday scheme, day nursery or childminder. You will probably want to ask other questions yourself. Don’t be afraid of asking anything that you are unsure of. 

  • Ask them to give you details of their daily routine and details on the activities they offer.
  • What experience of disability do they have? Are there any other children with disabilities or additional needs at the setting?
  • How will the childminder, nursery or play workers support your child?
  • Ask about staff training, for example: disability training, first aid, qualifications, experience and personal qualities.
  • Are the buildings/outdoor areas/places they may visit/toilets accessible for your child?
  • If relevant, does the setting have appropriate equipment for your child?
  • Are the premises secure?
  • How do the workers liaise with parents?
  • What are the ratios of staff to children?
  • How many children are there at each session/day? What are the age ranges?
  • How do staff discuss disability and different needs with other children?
  • If applicable, e.g. for children with communication needs, how do the staff support disabled children to engage and play with other children?
  • What are the arrangements to contact you in an emergency?
  • What information will they keep on your child, for example, details of their disability, dietary and medical requirements, behaviour management, likes and dislikes?
  • If applicable, who will administer your child’s medication?
  • What are the costs and what do they include? For example, are there additional costs for snacks and meals?
  • What would be the arrangements for your child starting? For example would there be trial days or sessions? For younger children, would you be able to stay whilst the child settled?

Local Offer

In order to provide families with detailed information about what support is available to them every local authority has a duty to provide a Local Offer. Sutton’s Local Offer provides information about provision available locally across education, health and social care for children and young people who have special educational needs or who are disabled – SEND. 

You can use the Local Offer website to search for childcare and find out how they support children with SEND. 
If you are finding it difficult to locate or access a suitable provider for your child, please contact us on 020 8770 6000. Through our FIS Plus+ brokerage service, we can support you to try and find suitable childcare and arrange any necessary visits.