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Disability Access Fund Information

From April 2017 the government introduced a funding measure for Early Year’s providers, the Disability Access Fund (DAF); this is to support children with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).  

DAF helps children access an Early Years place by supporting providers to make reasonable adjustments or increasing the number of SEND places available.

Eligibility for Disability Access Fund (DAF)

3 & 4 year olds will be eligible for DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • Child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Child is in receipt of Free Early Learning (FEL).

Note:  4 year olds in primary school reception classes are NOT eligible for DAF funding.


Settings with eligible DAF 3 & 4 year old are entitled to receive a one-off payment of £615 per financial year. DAF is not calculated on an hourly rate it is an additional entitlement.

Identifying Eligible Children

Early years providers are responsible for identifying eligible children. Providers are encouraged to speak to parents in order to find out who is eligible for DAF.

Providers will need to record on the parent/carer agreement that the child is eligible and in receipt of DLA. Provider will be required to keep evidence of the child’s eligibility that confirms that they are in receipt of the DLA (a copy of the letter from the relevant agency).

If a child eligible for DAF is splitting their free entitlement across two or more providers, the local authority will ask parents to nominate the provider they wish to receive the DAF payment.

Template parent/carer agreement

How Early Years Providers will Receive DAF Funding

The DAF information will be collected from providers at the same time as the Actual Headcount for summer, autumn and spring, with the same deadline dates.

Providers are responsible for identifying eligible children and submitting to the local authority, the DAF form via

Providers must submit the child’s details and complete the provider declaration to confirm they have parent /carer consent to make the DAF claim.

When information has been received this will be recorded on a master spreadsheet
When the Actual deadline has passed the LA will:

  • Check no other claims have been made for the child within the current financial year and process the DAF payments due by the end of the term.  If upon checking any ineligible claims these will be queried with providers.
  • DAF will not be offset against any other funding an eligible child may receive. DAF is paid as a lump sum once per financial year, per eligible child.
  • If more than one provider claims DAF for the same child, the LA will pay the first application received.  If both applications are received on the same day, the parent will be asked to nominate a provider as above.
  • If a child receiving DAF moves from one setting to another within a financial year, the new setting will not be eligible to receive DAF funding for this child within the same financial year. DAF funding received by the original setting will not be recouped by the LA.
  • Where a child lives in a different local authority district to where they take up a FEL place, the local authority where the child accesses their FEL place will administer the DAF payment.
Last Updated: 10/02/2020
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