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Families with disabled children often find it difficult to access
childcare. There are many reasons for this: you may not be able to
find a childcare provider to suit your child's specific needs, many
childcare settings are not inclusive and many don't offer childcare
at times that are suitable.
There are laws around childcare that local authorities and
childcare providers must follow. The main law in England is the
Childcare Act 2006. If you are refused childcare you can use this
and other laws to help you change the decision.
We have put together three template letters based on the most
common barriers to accessing childcare for disabled children and
what can or can't be done to overcome them.
Challenging a childcare provider's failure to
make reasonable adjustments
Under the Equality Act 2010 all childcare providers must make
reasonable adjustments to the way they provide a service. This is
to make sure all children are able access their activities and
letter one [docx] if you think a childcare provider has failed
to do this. Send it to a senior manager working at the provider or
to head office if it is part of a larger organisation (e.g. a chain
Requesting 'top up' funding from a local authority when there is
no legal duty on the childcare provider to make a resonable
You might have asked your childcare provider to make reasonable
adjustments and been given valid reasons why this is not feasible
because of the costs involved.
In this circumstance, send template
letter two [docx] to the local authority to ask for 'top up'
funding to support the necessary adjustments. We suggest you first
check with the provider that they are happy to receive this
funding. For more information see page 10 of our free childcare
Challenging a local authority's failure to make sure there is
enough childcare provision in its area.
This letter is designed to help challenge a local authority that
is failing to make sure there is enough childcare available in the
local area. Although the letter is primarily to challenge a lack of
free childcare for children aged two to four in England, it can
easily be adapted to highlight the lack of childcare for older
letter three [docx] is mainly intended to be a campaign tool
for local groups, but individual parents can also send it. For more
information see page 10 of our free childcare guide, below.
With the help of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and Steve Broach,
barrister at Monckton Chambers, we have put together a
guide to help you understand your rights to childcare for disabled
This guide is aimed primarily at parents who are finding it
difficult to access free childcare for a disabled child aged two to
four in England, but it should also be helpful for parents
struggling to access suitable childcare for older disabled
If you use one of these letters, please let us know how you get
on by emailing email@example.com.