All children are entitled to an education that enables them to:
- achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes.
- become confident young children with a growing ability to communicate their own views and ready to make the transition into compulsory education.
All Early Years providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors that a local authority funds are required to follow the SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years.
Early Years providers must have arrangements in place to support children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). These should include a clear approach to identifying and responding to children’s individual needs and promoting equality of opportunity for the children in their care.
The starting point is to identify a child’s needs and any adjustments which may need to be made in a meeting with the child and family before the child starts the setting. This is vital to finding all relevant information linking to the child and family which will enable you to plan and seek advice from the many professionals available, or to make some simple reasonable adjustments which will enable the child to attend the setting and achieve their full potential.
Support for children with SEND
A child has a learning difficulty or disability if they:
- have significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
- have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age (Equality Act 2010).
Providers of Early Years education must use their 'best endeavours' to make sure that a child with SEND gets the support they need. This means trying your best or making the best effort that you can.
The SEND Code of Practice expects that every child will receive quality provision. Where individuals require more support this will be provided through interventions, resources, advice and support from appropriate external specialists to enable the child to make academic progress.
'Best endeavours' is a legal term that means for settings:
- they must take all practicable action to meet a child’s needs (having regard to cost and degree of difficulty)
- they're required to incur reasonable expenses
- they may have a requirement to divert resources from elsewhere within the setting, if necessary
SEND support graduated approach
SEND support should be put in place using a four part cycle known as the graduated approach: assess, plan, do and review.
You can find out more about the graduated approach in the Council for Disabled Children SEN and disability in the Early Years toolkit.