The Equality Act 2010 ensures that local authorities and settings must not discriminate, harass or victimize children with a disability, and must make reasonable adjustments. Local authorities must ensure that children with disabilities entitled to a place are found suitable provision.

The Disability Access Fund (DAF) is a new measure which aids access to early years places by, for example, supporting providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings and/or helping with building capacity (be that for the child in question or for the benefit of children as a whole attending the setting).

Following the introduction of Personal Independence Payments, DLA is a benefit to help support children under 16 with care and mobility needs. DLA could be an entitlement depending on the child’s current needs and will help the parent to provide the extra support the child needs.

If a child receives DLA the early years setting they attend will be able to receive the DAF to help make their setting more accessible to the child and other children.

Eligibility

Three and four year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and;
  • the child receives Free Entitlement for 3 and 4 year old funding.

Please note that four year olds in primary school reception classes are not eligible for DAF funding.

Identifying Eligible Children

Early years settings are ultimately responsible for identifying eligible children and settings are encouraged to speak to parents in order to find out who is eligible for the DAF.

The Entitlement

The settings of three and four year olds eligible for the DAF will be entitled to receive a one-off payment of £615 per year. The DAF is not based on an hourly rate and is an additional entitlement.

What can providers use the DAF for?

The DAF is to help providers make reasonable adjustments to their settings to further support a child/children. This is to make the most of the opportunity which early education offers them.

It is up to the childcare provider to decide how they spend the DAF. Providers cannot use the funding to pay for additional hours.

Please complete the Early Education Funding DAF Form for eligible 3 and 4 year olds (opens a pdf)

Frequently Asked Questions

The settings if three and four year olds eligible for DAF will be entitled to receive a one-off payment of £615 per year. The DAF is not based on an hourly rate and is an additional entitlement.

If a child is splitting their Entitlement across more than one setting, parents will be asked to nominate the main setting, usually where the child accesses the majority of hours. This setting will be paid the DAF.

The DAF is not portable. If a child moves from one setting to another within the financial year, the new setting is not eligible to receive DAF funding for this child within the same financial year

No. Children do not have to take up the full 570 hours of Free Entitlement in order for the setting to receive the DAF. Where children are eligible the setting will receive the payment regardless of the period of entitlement taken up by the parent.

In cases where a child who lives in one Local Authority area attends a setting in a different area, the setting’s LA is responsible for funding the DAF for the child and eligibility checking.

Apply for DLA (opens an external website)

Advice and guidance on DLA (opens an external website)

Council for Disabled Children (opens an external website)

Early years national funding formula - operational guide - for further information, see section 16 (opens a pdf)