Supporting children in the early years with SEND

On this page we outline what support is available if your child has special educational needs or disabiliteis (SEND) and the educational support available in the early years.

Birth to two

If your child does not attend an Early Years setting then your local health services will work with you and your child to identify and support their development.  Your health team will visit you and your child and there will be follow-up appointments until your child starts school.  The team will screen and test your child to find out more about his or her health and development.

The type of support your child gets could include help with communication or language for example.

Your child might get this support:

  • at home
  • at groups for parents and children run by the NHS
  • in children's centres

 

Early Years Education

Within Newham we have a variety of early education and childcare providers.  Early education provides an opportunity to build on the knowledge the children have already gained at home, make new friends and become even more independent.  Through play, they are accessing educational experiences that have been carefully planned to engage their interests and support their developing needs.

All of our settings value working with parents in the continued support and education of the children, and must have an identified practitioner responsible for the SEND provision in the setting.  The practitioners have access to a continual professional development programme as well as other professionals, including the Local Authority area SENd Co-ordinators, health and the local children's centres. This helps them support and develop their practice and provision for children with diagnosed SEND, or identify children who may have emerging needs.

What are special educational needs?

All children are unique and learn in different ways and at different speeds. Practitioners will take this into account when planning learning activities for the children in their setting. However, some children still find it much harder to learn than others of the same age and may need extra help. This may be because they have difficulties with:

  • Emerging reading, writing, number work or understanding information
  • Expressing themselves or understanding what is being said to them
  • Organising themselves
  • Understanding and following rules and routines
  • Making friends or relating to adults
  • A medical condition
  • A sensory need such as difficulty with seeing or hearing

These children are said to have special education needs. (This does not include children who have trouble keeping up because their first language is not English).

The Department for Education publishes a code of practice on SEND, which is a guide for all educational settings and councils on how to help children and young people with SEND.

What to do if you are worried about your child's development

If you are worried about your child's development or behaviour, talk to the manager of your child's nursery or pre-school, or to your child's teacher at school.

Health or care professionals may also identify special educational needs or disability. If a professional thinks yur child has SEND, he or she must tell you and also tell us.

It is very important to identify SEND early so that practitioners and teachers can help children as quickly as possible. If your child has SEND, practitioners and teachers will assess your child's needs and the way he or she learns, and then gradually bring in extra and/or specialist services to help.

The nursery or school must tell you when it first starts giving this extra or different help to your child. It is important to find out exactly what your child's needs are and to plan support as early as possible. What support your child gets, and how, will depend on your child's individual needs. To monitor progress and the additional support they will create a SEND support plan and work with you in support of this. Most children with SEND will have their needs met in the mainstream early years settings and will not need further intervention or support.

However, there will be some children with very complex needs or multiple disabilities where an application for a statutory assessment can be made which may or may not result in an Education and Health Care Plan (EHC Plan) being issued. An EHC plan is a legal document. It contains a description of your child's needs and the support he or she needs from education, health and care services. It covers birth to 25 years (if a young person stays in education).

 

SEND Area SENCO Team

In Newham our Local Authority Area SEN Co-ordinators (SENCOs) are based at Ronald Openshaw Nursery in Stratford. They are there to provide support to all OfSTED registered private, voluntary and independent (PVI) childcare providers, as well as the childminding sector. The Area SENCOs will support the practitioners in the settings to identify children aged 0-5 who have, or may have, a Special Educational Need or Disability, provide intervention support, as well as promote inclusive practice.

The Area SENCOs will support the setting SENCO to increase capacity and achieve improvements to meet the needs of SEND children, enabling them to reach their full potential.

Funding for children with SEND

Early years settings can apply for additional funding above what is in their existing budgets for children with emerging needs. They must be 3 or 4-years old and attend a setting. The setting will need to work with you to complete an Early Help record and a decision will be made via a panel as to whether funding will be awarded.  If it is, then funding of £400 per term can be awarded to the setting.

Where a child already has a diagnosis of need and parents are in receipt of the disability living allowance to support their child, then settings can apply for a one off payment of £615 for the time the child is at the setting, to support them in meeting their child's needs.

What happens if your child has SEND

It is very important to identify SEND early so that practitioners and teachers can help children as quickly as possible.  If your child has SEND, teachers will assess your child's needs and the way he or she learns, and then gradually bring in extra and/or specialist services to help.

The nursery or school must tell you when it first starts giving this extra or different help to your child.

Levels of intervention and support

All early years settings and schools must have regard for the SEND Code of Practice (DfE,2014). Please follow the link for the early years element of the code here. This stipulates that there should be a graduated level of support for children with SEND.

Once a child has an identified need, a SEND support or intervention plan will be written.  This will be written by the setting or school, with your involvement.  It will describe the support to be provided and have a review date for the SENCO, you and your child to review it every term. The review meetings will discuss:

  • your child's progress against the support plan
  • whether the plans need to change
  • whether  your child still needs a plan

If your child is not making progress, then the plan, will be amended and a different approach will be tried.  This will still be provided within the setting.

Where a setting/school thinks your child's needs require a more high level of support, they may suggest that you start the statutory process for an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).

All early years settings and schools have a policy on identifying and supporting children with SEND. Look at the Family Information Service section of this website to identify suitable providers.

Most children with SEND will not move beyond the support or intervention plan stage, as setting staff and teachers in schools can give them the support they need within mainstream and early years settings and schools.

Education, Health and Care Pathway (EHC Plans)

In September 2014, the Children and Families Act was implemented which changed the way that children and young people with complex special educational needs and disabilities are assessed.  Statements of special educational needs (SEN) were replaced as part of these reforms by Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans.

EHC plans provide the same statutory protection as a statement of SEN; however, it extends the rights of children and young people with complex needs because it covers from birth to 25 if young people continue in education.

An EHC plan is a legal document. It contains a description of your child's needs and the support he or she needs from education, health and care services. It covers birth to 25 years (if a young person stays in education).

Who can ask for an EHC Plan?

  • Your child's school or nursery
  • A health professional or other person involved with your child
  • You, if you are a parent, carer, foster parent
  • You, if you are a young person aged 16 or over and still in education

You will be asked to attend a meeting with the school or setting to talk about:

  • the support your child already gets and support for the future
  • your child's progress
  • what support is available through the Local Offer
  • whether there is a need to ask (refer) for an assessment for an EHC plan

If you want your child to be assessed, you can ask your child's school about it or you can ask us directly. You can contact our SEN team on 020 8534 6196 (ask to speak to the Area SENCO).

The whole process, from the date we receive your request, to the date a place is complete, takes 20 weeks.

There is no automatic right to assessment. We have to decide whether an assessment is the right thing for your child individually.

We make this decision at what is called a 'referral meeting'.

The referral meeting will include:

  • you (as a parent or carer) and your child
  • someone from your child's nursery or school
  • any professional involved with you or your child
  • an officer from the council

At the referral meeting we will talk about whether your child qualifies for an assessment.

When we decide whether your child qualifies, we will look at:

  • whether your child has complex special educational needs and/or disability which affects his or her everyday life
  • whether your child needs support that is not normally available in  your child's nursery, school or college
  • whether your child needs intensive support from other services such as health and/or care
  • your child's progress with the support he or she is getting now
  • what support is already in place under the Local Offer and what progress, if any, your child is making

If it is clear that your child qualifies for an assessment, we will make a decision at the meeting. If it is not clear then we will ask a panel of education, health and care professionals to make the decision.

The same process applies if you a re a young person aged 16 or over.

We must make a decision about whether to assess your child within six weeks of the referral meeting, and we must write to you to tell you about the decision within that time.

If your child does not need an assessment, his or her needs will continue to be met at SEND support, where his or her school or nursery will look again at the kinds of support that will best help your child.

The nursery or school may change the support, involve other services through the Local Offer or ask for extra help from us.

Schools

Children aged 5-11 years go to a primary school.  Primary schools can be for children aged 5-11 or may be infant schools (from ages 5-7) and junior schools (from ages 7-11). Nearly all children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) go to a 'mainstream' school. Many children and young people may need some extra help or support at some time.

Very few children will have special educational needs (SEN) that are long-term or a disability or medical condition that significantly affects their learning.  It is important to identify children who do have special educational needs and disability (SEND) as early as possible.  All schools will work with you and if you do have a concern you will need to speak to your child's class teacher.

If they share your concerns, they will make arrangements to assess your child and put in place additional support.  This is known as early help or intervention which is aimed at making sure your child gets the help they need as soon as possible.

Schools have to be clear on their 'offer of support' for pupils with SEND. You will find that each school has a published SEN information report on their website, which might also be known as a 'School Local Offer'. This report says what the school will offer for pupils who have SEND. 

Special Schools and Resourced Provision

In Newham there are different types of schools for children and young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND), ranging from mainstream schools with their own support and additional support through Education and Health Care (EHC) plans to mainstream schools with additionally resourced provision to special schools.

Special Schools in Newham:

  • John F Kennedy School
  • Eleanor Smith School

Resourced Provision in Newham:

  • Brampton Primary
  • Calverton Primary
  • Cleves Primary
  • Colegrave Primary
  • Essex Primary
  • Gainsborough Primary
  • Gallions Primary
  • Langdon Academy
  • Nelson Primary
  • North Beckton Primary
  • Ranelagh Primary
  • Ravenscroft Primary
  • Sandringham Primary
  • Selwyn Primary
  • Sir John Heron Primary
  • Tollgate Primary

Early Years Support Services:

  • Behaviour Support Service
  • Complex needs and dyslexia service
  • Early Years Parents Forum

Early Education Places

For information about places in early education, go to our pages on free early education for two-year olds and free early education for three and four-year olds.

Organisations offering early education will have two special education needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) who will organise your child's learning.