Nursery not using Disability access fund correctly?

Hello! My first post!

My son is 4 and is just about to be formally diagnosed in the current months. 

He has been awarded DLA since March 2019 and in September 2019 I signed the forms with nursery so he can have the disability access fund which he was awarded and nursery were paid in full the first week of October 2019. 

I offered nursery ideas on what to use, he is sound sensitive - ear defenders are great for him - a weighted blanket so he can join in circle time for example. Basic things that would allow my son to access basic tasks at nursery, he also not yet potty trained so resources to help him transition into being potty trained etc. 

I asked every week through the term about getting these things in place and was met with "we've been so busy learning xmas songs" or "I think things are ordered". 

I sent a strongly worded email over the xmas and explained that they are inhibiting him access nursery and the money is there to support him SO SPEND IT basically. 

They purchased a few fidget toys (son doesn't like things like that) and a book. Despite other professionals suggesting a tent for somewhere for him to hide. 

So another strongly worded email from me... to be told they are spending the money on staff training which means my son won't be able to have the basic resources people suggest he should have. I've been told by their staff being trained it will help any new children that come into nursery. I do not think staff progression should be done the back of a childs DAF and I have found many things online that say it cannot be used for staff training. 

Ideas or knowledge anyone? Sick of having to fight them constantly, its not fair! 

  • Hi NAS65472,

    Sorry to hear you've been having trouble with your son's nursery. My best suggestion at the moment would be to try and get through to the NAS Education Rights Service, which provides impartial and confidential information and support to families on school education rights and entitlements. Part of what the ERS offers to parents is legal help and resolving differences between parents and schools, so I think they would be your best bet. The contact information for the ERS can be found here - https://www.autism.org.uk/services/helplines/education-rights.aspx

    Hope this will be of some help,

    Ross - mod

  • Here's the link to the government guidance on the funding your son has and how the nursery should spend it - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/758271/EYNFF_Operational_Guide_-_2019-20_Final.pdf

    It does look like the nursery is following its duties in regards to spending the money on staff training. However, they do have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments in order to ensure that your son is not disadvantaged. The DLA is there to pay for items that are a personal preference. However, if the lack of any of these resources are preventing your son from participating in nursery activities then it would be reasonable for the nursery to provide this equipment. For example, does your son have to come home early from nursery seen as he doesn't have a tent to hide in or has he found other ways of coping? What does he do now if he's unable to engage in circle time due to the lack of a weighted blanket?