What should I do if a child within my early years setting presents with SEND?

The first stage to support a child who presents with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in your setting is to discuss this with the child's parent or carers. This type of conversation needs to be handled carefully and in a safe, reassuring space for parents to share their views. After this discussion and if it has been agreed that the child may need to access SEND Provision, an initial Individual Support Plan (ISP) could be put in place.

What does an ISP look like and need to include?

As part of the Graduated Approach settings should document the additional support provided within an ISP. ISP meetings should be held with parental consent and involvement and incorporate advice from other professionals, for example, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Paediatricians.

ISP meetings take a child-centred approach to assessment, planning and reviewing progress and should take on board the views and wishes of the parents and child. All children can share their views irrespective of their age or SEND.

During ISP meetings long term and short-term outcomes should be agreed for the child. These targets should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) and reviewed every six weeks to ensure that a continual cycle of assessment and planning is adopted. Please see the useful resources section of this page for an example ISP document and a blank document you can download and use.

What do I do if I need further support with a child?

If you believe a child at your setting has additional needs that cannot be met within your usual SEND provision, please complete the Referral Form for support from the Early Years SEND Team. Before completing the form, you must collect evidence of having taken some initial steps towards meeting the child's needs. For example, gathering information about the child's development, health needs, observations and or other supporting documents to ensure action has been taken by the setting before making this referral.

The setting should ensure that parents are kept fully informed of any concerns and that their views and wishes are taken on board. Parental consent will need to be obtained before making any referral for outside support.

When completing the referral form please ensure you have provided as much information as possible about the child's needs and the support currently being provided. Please also provide any information regarding involvement from other outside agencies and proof of consent from parents/carers.

Please return the completed form and documentation to the Early Years SEND Team at EarlyYearsSENDTeam@southend.gov.uk or via post to Early Years SEND Team, Southend-on-Sea City Council, 2nd Floor, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend on Sea, Essex. SS2 6ER.

If you do not already have a copy of the form, please contact the team.

What other support is available for children with SEND in my setting?

If, after discussion with a SEND Advisor, it is considered that the child needs support above and beyond what is available through the setting's own resources, it may be considered appropriate to apply for Inclusion Funding to support the setting to provide the additional funding required. Applications for Inclusion Funding are considered on an individual basis at our bi-monthly Early Years Inclusion Funding Panel and consider the specific needs of the child and the additional support required within the setting.

An application will need to be made via a SEN Inclusion Fund Application Form (SENIF). It is important to submit all the information that you have gathered from outside agencies, reviewed ISP's which clearly evidence the child's progress over time and the support they have already been receiving. This is sent directly to the Early Years SEND Team via this email address EarlyYearsSENDTeam@southend.gov.uk

The Early Years SEND Team can provide a copy of the SEN Inclusion Application Form (SENIF). Applications for Inclusion Funding are reviewed (termly) whereupon settings will be required to show evidence of the impact the additional provision has had on the child's progress and provide a justification as to the potential benefits of any continuing funding.

For children over the age of 3 who receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) a setting can also apply for DAF funding which is an annual payment that can be used for training, adaptations to the environment or resources to support the inclusion of a child with SEND. This can be applied for via the Early Years Team.

What is Disability Access Funding and what can I use it for?

If you provide places for any 3 or 4 years olds who receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA), your setting is eligible to receive disability access funding. The fund is to support early years providers to make initial reasonable adjustments and build the capacity of their setting to support disabled children. This can include training to improve practice and to understand specific conditions or disorders. It can also be used to purchase specific resources to meet the child's needs. It cannot be used to provide one to one support for the child.

Find out more about Disability Access Funding and apply.

What do I do if I think a child needs an Education Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)?

Please follow this link to find out all you need to know about Education Health and Care Plans: Education, Health and Care needs assessment.

Please contact the Early Years SEND Support Service if you need any help or advice.

How do I collect information about a child with potential SEND?

The process for monitoring provision and progress for children is called the Graduated Approach and involves a continual process of Assess, Plan, Do, Review as outlined in the SEND Code of Practice 2014. This can be monitored on a behaviour plan or an Individual Support Plan (ISP).

There are a number of resources for settings that can be obtained from the useful resources section on this page.

Useful resources