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Special Educational Needs and Disability (under 5s)

Every childcare setting is required by law to have a named Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) who is responsible for any children with special educational needs and disability within their setting.

All SENCo's follow the Statutory Guidelines laid out in the SEND Code of Practice Jan 2015 in order to offer the best support possible for your child.

Your child may also have additional support to help them access all that the childcare setting can offer.

The SEN Code of Practice also lays out the responsibility for the local authority.

We offer 2 levels of support to childcare settings:

Area support

With your permission, a Special Educational Needs Development Officer (SENDo) will visit your child's childcare setting and discuss your child's needs with the SENCo. Advice will be offered and equipment may be loaned.

Sometimes, a referral is made to another professional. You are involved in the referral process. Your child may be assessed using either a Schedule of Growing Skills assessment or a Schedule of Social Skills assessment, so that their progress can be monitored.

Progress is monitored termly to make sure your child's support is helping them reach their goals.

Advisory support

Children whose needs are severe, complex and long-term will be seen at their childcare setting by an Advisory SENDo. The Advisory SENDo will visit your child (at least once a term) to offer support; mentor staff, advise one-to-one support workers and guide you and staff through the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process.

SEN top-up grants

Additional funding is available to childcare settings to make a positive impact on a child's longer term outcomes. Requests for SEN Top-up Grants (formally known as additional support funding) are made by childcare settings and submitted to a panel that considers requests made.

Disability Access Fund

This is £615 paid to childcare settings annually, used to help childcare providers make their setting accessible to children with special educational needs. It can be used to make adjustments to the setting, to purchase special equipment required or pay for specialist training to help meet a child's needs. 3 and 4 year olds are eligible if they receive Disability Living Allowance and they receive 3 and 4 year old Early Education Funding. Please speak directly to someone in your childcare setting for further information.


Portage is a home visiting education service. It promotes parents as playing a vital role in their child's development. It follows a carefully structured, yet flexible approach which enables parents to support their child.

Portage workers visit you and your child at your home to look at what skills your child needs to develop. They then design activities for you and your child to do together. These activities are broken down into small steps to help your child make progress.

This progress is reviewed with you on a regular basis and further goals are set.

Referrals to the Portage Service are usually made by health professionals, childcare settings or social care.

The Vision Support Service and Hearing Support Service

The Hearing Support Service works with children with mild to profound hearing impairment. The Vision Support Service works with children with mild to profound visual impairment.

Both services help by giving advice and training to childcare setting staff and sometimes may provide direct teaching to children. Both services in partnership with parents and carers to agree support and involvement.

Further information

For further information on any of our services, please speak to someone in your childcare setting or the Children's Information Service.