Early Years Disability Access Funding Consultation to distribute £554k

Closed 31 Jul 2022

Opened 4 Jul 2022


Sheffield City Council wishes to consult with all Early Years childcare providers in the city. We seek your views on how to distribute balances of Disability Access Funding (DAF) that have accumulated during the last four financial years, amounting to £554k.

DAF was a new funding stream introduced by the Department for Education (DfE) in 2017/18 and it was based on the number of 3&4-year-olds claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in February 2016 based on the data set from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for any pupils who were not in a school reception place.

In Sheffield and many other Local Authorities (LAs), there have been balances accumulating each year due to a combination of lack of applications made by the Early Years sector; also given that the DAF funding we receive from the Government is based on DLA receipt data, we cannot identify the eligible pupils.

The Government has acknowledged the balances held by LAs and directed us to distribute the funding to the sector.

Statutory Guidance regulations state that DAF should be used to support disabled children’s access to the entitlements for 3&4-year-olds to support providers in making reasonable adjustments to their settings and or help with building capacity for the child in question or for the benefit of children attending the setting. DAF funding should not be offset against any other funding which the local authority may ordinarily be providing for children eligible for DAF.

There are three options you can choose from regarding how you think the DAF balances should be distributed:

Model 1 – Funding Distributed based on pupils with SEND
This model distributes the £554k DAF balances to all 3&4-year-old Funded Early Learning (FEL) providers who identified Special Education Need or Disability (SEND) pupils on the Sheffield Provider Portal in Spring 2022.

Model 2 – Cumulative DAF
This model distributes the £554k DAF balances to all of the 3&4-year-old FEL Providers who were previously funded for any DAF funding during the period 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2021.

Model 3 – Total FEL Hours Paid in 2021/22
This model distributes the £554k DAF balances to each 3&4-year-old FEL Provider who received funding for 3&4-year-old FEL participation hours in 2021/22.

Please refer to the downloadable document below in 'Related Documents' section to see a full description of these options.

Why your views matter

It has been reported nationally that parents do not see the benefit of informing a provider of their child’s eligibility of DLA as they do not see any financial reward and they feel there is a stigma attached to this.

We need to find a way to encourage parents to engage with Early Years providers to increase take up of DAF in Sheffield.

The consultation will be open for four weeks and the results will be shared with the Early Years Working Group in September.  The Working Group will recommend the final model, based on the outcome of this consultation, to the Sheffield Schools Forum at the meeting on 29 September for a final decision. Following this, LA Officers will distribute the funding to eligible Early Years providers in December 2022.


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