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Information for parents

The Department for Education (DfE) introduced Disability Access Fund (DAF) in 2017. It entitles providers of early years education to claim DAF for any child meeting these criteria:

  • child who is 2, 3 or 4 years old and accessing preschool provision (not in reception class)
  • child accesses free early years education (FEEE funded hours - either 15 or 30 hours)
  • child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

The Disability Access Fund is £910 from 1st April 2024, per year for eligible children. Funding is paid per year directly to one childcare provider nominated by the parent. The DAF is not based on an hourly rate and is an additional entitlement payable as a lump sum.

Early Years providers are responsible for identifying eligible children. Please let your EY provider know if your child receives Disability Living Allowance. They will then be able to apply for DAF funding. The local authority is responsible for allocating the DAF funding. To receive funding for DAF, providers need to use the early years and childcare provider portal.

Derbyshire's pathway is as follows:

The parent declaration form (FE1) includes a tick box for parents to indicate if their child is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance. If a child attends more than one setting, the DAF can only be paid to one provider, which the parent should nominate as the main provider.

The setting should satisfy themselves that the child is in receipt of DLA. They should keep a copy (paper or electronic) of the evidence available for audit. The payment is allocated to the provider. This means that applications can also be made for children living out of county attending a Derbyshire provider.

The Early Years census in schools, academies, and other early years settings will include a field to indicate if a child is in receipt of disability allowance. Identifying a child on the census will automatically trigger a payment to that setting when the data has been finalised (provided no payment has previously been made in the financial year for that child).

The government has not laid out criteria or monitoring procedures for DAF funding. However, Derbyshire local authority recommends suitable use of DAF funding including: 

  • Training: Settings can use DAF funding for any medical training the setting may need to support the child's inclusion in the early years setting. Other bespoke training from the LA (for example, Down's syndrome, Makaton) might also be accessed using DAF.
  • Resources: to purchase resources to support the child's learning outcomes and developmental progress. (Please collaborate with specialist support services when considering buying equipment). Also remember the funding is allocated to the setting. When the child moves on, the equipment stays with the nursery; there is no requirement to pass it on.
  • Staffing: Settings can use DAF funding to provide an increase in enhanced staffing support for the child. Early Years SEN inclusion Funding (EYIF) is the primary source for this area. However, DAF might be used for top-up during times of the day that EYIF does not cover. Settings can also use DAF funding to fund staffing cover so key staff can attend multi-professional meetings about the child.