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Choosing the right childcare for children with special educational needs and disabilities

There are lots of childcare options for children of all needs. Find out about choosing quality childcare.

Understand what childcare providers offer

Talk to the provider to ask how they can help your child and arrange a visit.

Search for childcare

Search our Family Information Directory to find childcare. Find the services providers offer, their Ofsted ratings and which offer free early education funding. Some childcare records include information on how they provide for children with SEND. These records are marked with the yellow Local Offer symbol.

Book a visit to the childcare setting

When visiting you can:

Speaking to the SENCO

When you speak to a SENCO, you should ask about the settling in process. Find out what equipment they have and discuss anything else to help meet your child's needs. You should also ask about their recent training.

Support in the setting

If you're unsure who to talk to about your child's needs visit our education advice section. From here you can also find out about what support is available for children in early years settings.

Help finding childcare

If you're unable to find childcare using our directory or need further help, contact the Dorset Family Information Service. They can provide support tailored to meet individual needs. 

Amanda and Hannah's story

Find out how the right childcare choice helped Hannah's progress.


How to make a complaint

Find out how to make a complaint about a childcare setting.

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