Childcare before starting school

Education and childcare provision for children who are aged five and under is known as Early Years.  All Early Years providers are able to plan learning for every child.

Private and independent day nursery settings have a named special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo). They all follow The Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs and are inclusive of children with additional needs.

There are different types of childcare available in Walsall suitable for this age group:

  • Childminders
  • Day nurseries
  • Out of school clubs
  • Holiday playschemes
  • Crèches
  • Playgroups

Walsall's Family Information Service can help you choose the right kind of childcare you and your child.They can also help you find a childcare provider with SEND experience.

Childcare and early learning

2 year olds

From the age of 2 years some children are eligible for 30 hours free childcare per week. You can check if your child is eligible and apply for funding with Walsall Family Information Service, or check eligibility for free education for 2 year olds on

3 and 4 year olds

All 3 and 4-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare a year. You can choose to take the hours when you want. For example, you could have 15 hours a week for 38 weeks of the year. Find out which settings you can use and how to apply for a place.

Some 3 and four year olds may be eligible for 30 hours free childcare per week.  You can check if your child is eligible and how to apply.

Early learning for 3 and 4 year olds (nursery)

All children can have free early learning the term after their third birthday. This can be delivered within an infant or primary school, nursery school, private nursery or a childminder setting.

Walsall Family Information Service has more information about choosing an early learning setting or applying for a nursery place.

Starting school (reception)

Children can start school, in reception, at 4 years old in the academic year that they become 5. All mainstream schools have a teacher who is their special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo). You can find more information about applying for a primary school place in Walsall.

The Early Years/School Ready team can support you and your child with the transition from childcare or early learning into education at primary school.

Support in early years education

Specialist services, including Early Years SEN team (EYSEN), Team Around the Child (TAC) and Walsall Child Development team, can support you and your child throughout their early years education, and beyond. Contact them to find out how they can help.