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SEND childcare and early years

Help for children with SEND in early years settings

All early years settings such as nurseries and preschools must support children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and help them to learn.

This is done using special educational needs (SEN) support.

Read more about SEN support in our SEND local offer education section.

When talking to early years settings about SEN support, you may hear some unfamiliar terms. These include:

  • Ordinarily Available Provision in the Early Years (PDF 718KB), which is the support given to children with SEND by all early years settings and other education providers using regular funding from the council.
  • Settings may be able to apply for Early Years Inclusion Fund to help meet the needs of children with low levels and emerging SEND.
  • The graduated approach, is an important part of SEN support. This cycle of support helps settings and parents to identify the child's needs and puts a plan in place to ensure the best outcomes for children.
  • High needs funding can in some circumstances be applied for by settings to support children with SEND. High needs funding might be appropriate if:
    • A child that is undergoing statutory assessment but, at the same time, has significant difficulties.
    • Has a short term significant need that requires additional support for a short and limited time.
    • Has moved into the local authority area and whose needs are much higher than of what you would expect for a child of their age and has not been assessed formally.

If you or your early years setting thinks that your child has complex and long term needs, you can consider applying for an education, health and care (EHC) plan. You may want to discuss this with your educational setting first.