Choosing the best childcare options for your child can be a daunting experience, especially when your child has an additional need or disability. There is no right or wrong option as childcare has to fit your family and evolve as your child's needs and the needs of your family change.
Start looking early, before your child actually needs childcare, and don't feel under pressure to take the first provider you find. Take your time, speak to more than one provider and make a shortlist. You may not always find a provider that meets all your needs, but it's important to find the best fit you can.
The majority of children and young people with special educational needs can be supported to achieve their potential by the wide selection of inclusive childcare provision (day nurseries, pre-schools, childminders, out of school and holiday clubs) within the borough.
You may be able to get details of the local offer available at individual childcare settings via their website, which will include information on accessibility.
All childcare providers must meet the requirements of the government's SEND Code of Practice (PDF - 3.23 MB). They must make reasonable adjustments to policies and physical features which put disabled children at a disadvantage compared with non-disabled children. In addition they must involve you and your children in decision making and make sure you get the information and support you need. They must respond quickly to your child’s emerging needs, planning ahead and working towards positive outcomes for your child.
Ofsted and childcare guidelines
Anyone caring for children under the age of 8 years old for more than 2 hours a day for reward must be registered with Ofsted unless you use family or employ a nanny. Find out more about Ofsted and childcare guidelines.
Childminders are registered and inspected by Ofsted to ensure they provide a safe and stimulating environment for the children they care for. They are self-employed and run their business from their own home. Find out more
Day nurseries and pre-schools
There are a large range of day nurseries and pre-schools across the borough.
- Day nurseries provide services to children from birth to school age.
- Pre-school provide services to children aged from two to school age.
Out of school services and holiday schemes
Can you get help with your childcare costs?
Childcarechoices.gov.uk is a website which provides information and guidance for parents on paying for childcare including funded places, tax free childcare, tax credits, universal credits and support while you study.
Early Years Pupil Premium for 3 and 4 year olds
If your child is 3 or 4 years old, childcare providers may be able to claim an additional £300 per year to spend on enriching your child's education. The funding is called Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). Find out more
Funded early education places
- Funded early education places: 2 year olds - young children aged two (or just turned three) may be eligible to have up to a maximum of 15 hours of funded early learning and childcare each week (for 38 weeks of the year) with a preschool, day nursery or childminder. Children with disabilities and learning needs are eligible if they have an Education, Health & Care Plan or if they receive Disability Living Allowance.
- Funded early education places: 3 and 4 year olds - every three and four year old is entitled to have up to a maximum of 15 hours of funded early learning and childcare each week (for 38 weeks of the year) with a preschool, day nursery or childminder.
Find information about how and when you can access your funded place and your rights when accessing your funded place.
Disability Access Fund (DAF)
Children who are eligible for the 3 & 4 year old funding and who are in receipt of DLA are eligible for the Disability Access Fund (DAF) . This is a grant of £615 which is paid direct to the childcare provider to support children with disabilities or special educational needs to be able to access their early years funded place. Find out more
Bromley Children Project
We run a number of support groups available to help families, usually within Children and Family Centres but are occasionally available in other locations. The groups are usually free and are available at different locations throughout the year. Find out more
For children and young people with severe or complex needs.
Bromley Mencap Childminding Network
For children and young people with severe or complex needs, Bromley Mencap offers a specialist Childminding Network.
The Bromley Mencap Childminding Network has a team of registered, Ofsted inspected childminders who are trained to care for children with disabilities aged from birth to 16. The service is flexible and can be tailor-made to meet your needs.
The Network Plus childminding network - also provided by Bromley Mencap, offers 1:1 care to children with a severe learning disability and a complex medical need or complex communication difficulty.
You can find out more details, and request support by contacting Bromley Mencap.
Petts Wood Special Needs Playgroup
Petts Wood Playgroup is an independent Registered Charity who provides pre-school care and education for children with special needs from birth to five years.
The special needs include physical disabilities, developmental delay, behavioural and social problems that can cause difficulties for children and parents alike.
The Playgroup cares for 15 children with varying additional needs each day.
Referral is open i.e. made by anyone involved with the care of an individual child, be it a GP, other professional or parents themselves. The family are invited to visit the playgroup and this can be followed by subsequent visits at home. Parents are always welcome to stay or pop in.
Escorted transport is available.
Riverside School offer places (on a referral basis) to 3 & 4 year olds.
Find out more about Riverside School
Need more help?
Contact the Information, Advice and Support Service for free, impartial information, advice and support for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Support is also offered to children and young people with SEND. They can also help provide information in a non-web format.