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Help for children under 5 with SEND

If you have a child under 5 with Special Educational Needs and/or a Disability, or are concerned about your child's progress and development, there are services which can provide or direct you to further help and support.

Watch a short video about how children and young people with SEND are supported.

Early years and childcare settings

Early years providers and childcare settings must have arrangements in place to identify and support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and must promote equality of opportunity for children in their care.

These duties are outlined in the SEND Code of Practice and in section 1 of the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework (EYFS).

Pre-schools, day nurseries and maintained nurseries in schools have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) who has responsibility for implementing the Special Educational Needs (SEN) policy and for co-ordinating help and support for children with additional needs in their setting. Childminders fulfil this role in their settings.

The Graduated Response outlines the approach that providers take to support children with SEND.

The BCP Council Early Years Team provide information, advice and guidance to support early years settings in carrying out their duties.

Settings are expected to provide information about the support available in their setting for children with SEND (known as their `Local Offer’). This information can be found in the settings service record under the ‘SEND Local Offer’’ tab.  Click here for details of childcare provision in your area.

Funding to support children with SEND

Settings can apply for Early Years additional SEND payments as part of the council’s inclusion fund to support children with SEND. They can also receive payments via the Disability Access Fund.

An extra amount will be paid to them if a child at their setting has an EHCP which requires them to offer more support than this existing funding pays for.

Help finding childcare

The BCP Council Family Information Service provide free, impartial information and advice on childcare, early education, childcare funding and services available to support families. They can also help you find suitable childcare through the childcare brokerage service. 

You may also find the `Choosing an Early Years Provider’ leaflet helpful.

Portage Home Visiting Service

Portage is a home visiting education service for children aged 1 to 3 years with significant developmental delay and complex SEND needs.  Further details on the  Portage service can be found here.

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

In a small proportion of cases, children may require more specialist or extensive support through an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

If this is the case, it may be necessary for a request to be made to the Local Authority for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.

Family Hubs and Children's Centres

Family Hubs provide support for parents and carers and children under the age of 5. They offer a range of groups and services, including those specifically for children with SEND.

See the directory for details of support available at your local Family Hubs and Children’s Centre.

Health Visiting Service and the Health/Integrated Review at Two

Health Visitors provide information, advice and support to pregnant women, expectant fathers and parents of new babies and young children. They work with parents and families to ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of children up to the age of five. If you are concerned about your child’s health or development, you can speak to your Health Visitor or your GP.

Just after their second birthday, your child will have a health review.  This is usually done by a nursery nurse or health visitor, and may happen at your home, baby clinic or the family hubs.

If your child is attending an early years setting, they will also discuss your child’s progress.  If either or both of the reviews highlight that your child has a need for additional support, an Integrated Review will be carried out involving yourself, your health visitor and your child’s key person or SENCO.

Health Services

There are a range of health services in the local area which can support children with SEND. Visit the health section of the Local Offer for more information. 

If your health provider has recognised that your child may have a special educational need, they can support you by referring your child's details to the BCP Council Early Years Team. This referral is called a 'Health to Education Notice', often known as a HEN.

A HEN will notify BCP Council staff of your child's need and allow them to support your child's educational setting, by providing a personalised learning pathway which will support their future learning and development. 

For more information about this and how it will help your child, please view the online leaflet on this page.