SEND support before school

Early Years SEND Support

All pre-schools, nurseries and child-minders should be identifying and supporting children who might have special educational needs.

You can find out all about early years funding for children with SEND here.

From the age of two, they should be checking children’s progress and giving parents and carers reports on children’s strengths and saying if there are any needs.

What if a child is struggling?

If the checking shows that a child needs extra help, the setting should make a support plan to help the child. This might mean they ask for more professional support.

There’s a lot of free training available from education and health professionals so staff working with pre-school children are fully aware of many special educational needs.

Early years providers can also get help from the Early Years Inclusion Fund. Follow the path at the bottom of this page to find out how to apply. They could get a visit from an educational psychologist or use it to get training and resources to help them meet a specific need.

What is a SENDCO?

Many nurseries and pre-schools have a SENDCO (special educational needs and/or disabilities coordinator). The role might be shared with other staff. 

They will:

  • help other staff to support children with SEND
  • work with parents to help their child
  • work with other professionals, like health visitors, paediatricians, speech and language therapists.

What if a child needs an EHC Plan?

An Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan is for children who have major special educational needs that will last a long time.

Most needs can be supported using the support of education and health professionals and by using the Early Years Inclusion Fund.

If the needs are so much that parents and professionals think they can’t be supported by the usual funding, it’s time to ask us for an education, health and care (EHC) assessment.

Find out more about applying for an Education Health Care Plan

Follow the path below to find out how to get support from the Early Years Inclusion Fund.