We have already announced over £1bn more for the early years entitlements within the ring-fenced Dedicated Schools Grant by 2019-20, which includes £300m per year to uplift the average funding rate to providers. We are also providing protection for high needs funding that will make sure that the level of funding rises in proportion to the number of children, including those under 5. This will make sure that local authorities continue to have the flexibility to target funding where it is most needed to help children with special educational needs and disabilities and their families, including the youngest children. Further consideration will be given to funding for children with special educational needs in early years education as part of a consultation later this year.
Local authorities are required by law to secure free entitlement places for parents that want their child to take them up. The Government is committed to ensuring that all families have access to high quality, flexible and affordable childcare and parents with children with special educational needs should have the same opportunities as other parents through access to high quality childcare. The Children and Families Act requires local authorities to have a ‘local offer’ which includes a statement on how they intend to tailor the childcare on offer for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Early implementation of 30 hours from September 2016 provides a real opportunity to develop innovative approaches to providing flexible childcare for working parents whose children are disabled or have special educational needs. Through Early Implementation, York, Northumberland, Newham and Wigan are among 8 LAs delivering the 30 hours entitlement from September 2016, a year earlier than planned. This will include delivering targeted places focusing on children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
They will also be supported by Early Implementer Innovator areas including Brighton and Hove, Hampshire and Trafford, who will test the offer and how it works under specific circumstances, including developing approaches to support children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.