Disability Access Fund

The government is clear that all children should be able to access their funded early years entitlement and that no child should have their access restricted or denied, because of special educational needs, or a disability. They have, therefore, created a targeted fund called the Disability Access Fund (DAF) to support early years settings to make initial reasonable adjustments and to build the capacity of their setting to support disabled children.

Eligibility

To be eligible for DAF, a child must be:

From April 2024, children claiming DLA could be eligible if they receive one of the following:

  • 15 funded hours for disadvantaged 2-year-olds, known as Best Start in Life, or
  • 15 funded hours for 2 year olds eligible for the working parent entitlement, or
  • 15 hours as the universal entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds

Providers are encouraged to raise awareness of DAF with parents in order to identify eligible children. The parent declaration form should be used to ascertain if a child meets the relevant criteria for DAF.

  • 4 year olds attending a primary school reception class are not eligible for DAF
  • The Schools and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations 2023 prohibits that DAF cannot be paid to some school settings funded under regulation 14. This is applicable to specialist school provision

Funding is paid at £910 per year pro rata.

How to apply and how DAF is paid

For providers wishing to apply, please read and complete the Disability Access Fund information and application form and return via Anycomms to 'Early Years Inclusion'.

If a child eligible for DAF is splitting their funded hours across two or more providers, their parent(s) will need to nominate the provider to receive the payment. This will usually be the provider where the child is accessing the majority of their funded hours.

In cases where a child who lives in one authority area attends a setting in a different local authority, the setting's local authority is responsible for funding the DAF for the child and eligibility checking.

A DAF grant will only be paid once a year for an eligible child. If a child receiving DAF moves from one provider to another, the new provider is not eligible to receive DAF until a year after the date that the council approved the original application. If an eligible child remains with the same provider for more than a year, that provider can re-apply for a second grant a year after the original application.

What you can use funds for

Providers should consider what reasonable adaptations are required to ensure the child has the same equity of access to the provision as any other child. Resources required to ensure basic entry and reasonable adjustments to the learning and physical environment should be the priority for DAF. It cannot be used to fund additional hours.

For further advice please email SENteamdiary@herefordshire.gov.uk