A member of staff with student


Welcome to C4EO's e-learning resource on Disability – part of our remit to gather and share local, regional and national evidence of what works to improve outcomes in services, especially for the most vulnerable children, young people and families.

The Aiming High for Disabled Children programme addressed three priority areas in the provision of services for disabled children and young people:

  • access

  • responsiveness and

  • improving service quality.

Services are intended to benefit all disabled children and young people but, in reality, some groups of children are disadvantaged, have less access to services and suffer from poorer outcomes.

This resource highlights key messages about what works to improve the wellbeing of disabled children and young people, including improving equality in outcomes and access to services. The resource provides an overview of the findings of three C4EO knowledge reviews, looking at:

  • early years interventions
  • access to positive and inclusive activities
  • the differentiation of services to meet the needs of different groups.

Effective and well-timed early years interventions, participation in positive and inclusive activities and the differentiation of services to meet specific needs can improve outcomes for disabled children and young people. However, there is currently significant inequality in outcomes, which must be addressed.

Skilled and proactive staff are essential to improving services for disabled children and young people. Continued professional development - through workshops, training and team reviews - plays an important role in motivating and informing staff. The reflection points, exercises and information in this resource provide some tools to help you to equip your staff to ensure that your service is meeting the needs of all disabled children in your area.

You can find out more about the support available through the 'How we can help' section at the top of this page. You may also find the sections on Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA) helpful if you have not already adopted an OBA approach.

About C4EO

C4EO's unique remit is to 'gather and share' evidence of what works in the provision of services for children and young people. We hope that you will continue to support us by engaging in local training events, giving us feedback about our data and sharing your local examples of effective practice, to help us to continue to build the evidence base for early years work in the future.

– The authors

You can use the main navigation above to start working your way through this resource.

Disability is the second of

seven themes explored in this series of e-learning resources. Within this theme we look at the following priority areas:
  • improving the wellbeing of disabled children (up to age 8) and their families by increasing the quality and range of early years interventions
  • improving the wellbeing of disabled children and young people by improving access to positive and inclusive activities
  • ensuring all disabled children, young people and their families are receiving services that are sufficiently differentiated to meet their diverse needs.

Further reading

Children Act 1989.

Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005.

HM Treasury and DCSF (2007) Aiming high for disabled children: better support for families.

Definitions of disability are many and varied. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defines disability as 'a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'. The Children Act 1989 defines a disabled person as someone who is 'blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any kind, or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital or other such disability as may be prescribed'.

HM Treasury and DCSF 2007.

Early Years; Disability; Vulnerable children, Child poverty; Safeguarding; Families, Parents and carers; Schools and communities.

These are: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; and achieve economic wellbeing.