There are two main documents shaping teaching and learning in early years. Firstly, the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS,2017) and Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (SEND, 2015). Both documents precisely describe the role of the early years setting as a place where children’s learning and development is assessed, and progress reviewed regularly with parents.
The process of identification of special educational needs and disability may take different forms, such as identification of needs by General Practitioner (GP), health visitor (HV) or a childcare provider. Below there is outline of a process of early identification in early years settings.
Where a child appears to be behind expected levels, or where a child’s progress gives cause for concern, practitioners should consider all the information about the child’s learning and development from within and beyond the setting, from formal checks, from practitioner observations and from any more detailed assessment of the child’s needs. From within the setting practitioners should particularly consider information on a child’s progress in communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development. Where any specialist advice has been sought from beyond the setting, this should also inform decisions about whether or not a child has SEN. All the information should be brought together with the observations of parents and considered with them. (EY Guide to 0-25 Code).
Types of need
The SEND Code of Practice describes 4 broad areas of need:
–Cognition and Learning
–Communication and Interaction
–Social, Emotional and Mental Health
–Sensory and Physical
The purpose of identification is to work out what action the educational setting needs to take, not to fit a child or young person into a category.
In practice, individual children or young people often have needs that cut across all these areas and their needs may change over time, in terms of both type and level. The support provided to an individual child or young person should always be based on a full understanding of their particular strengths and needs.
Through a GRADUATED APPROACH
“The approach recognises that there is a continuum of special educational needs and that, where necessary, increasing specialist expertise should be brought to bear on the difficulties that a child or young person may be experiencing”
Under the provisions of the Children and Families Act 2014, the designations of Early Years Action and Early Years Action Plus have been replaced by SEN support, a graduated approach to supporting children with SEN or disabilities
The purpose of the Local Offer is to enable parents and young people to see more clearly what services are available for children with special educational needs and disabilities in their area, and how to access them.
"I like the pictures and I like the interesting information it has on the website" - Pupil from Allanson Street Primary School
We are working with parents, young people, children, carers and local services including schools, colleges and health and social care agencies to develop the offer.
"It has been really good having the opportunity to choose whether to be involved or not. It has felt good to be leading work, not just involved. It has helped build my confidence and helped me make decisions in my own life." - Young person on being involved in Voice of the Child.
"The new website is much easier to navigate and find your way around." - Parent of a child with SEND.