Support for children with SEND in early years

Your child's early years provider (nursery, pre-school, or childminder) must follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS). It sets the standards for the care and learning of your child from their birth to the end of the reception year.

Your child's development and progress

All children learn in different ways. Early years providers are trained to work out what works best for your child to help them develop.

You will get a written assessment of your child's progress when they turn 2 and at the end of reception. If you are worried about their progress, talk to your child's key person and share your concerns.

Read these tips to see what to ask.

To help your early years provider to support your child, we give them the Best Practice Guidance booklet. The booklet outlines how to be inclusive and offer new ways of working to support your child. Read the Best Practice Guidance for families (PDF, 808.5 KB).

Reviews of your child

Each review will take place at your child's early years setting, where they will watch your child play.

Early years review check

The early years setting will check your child's strengths and any areas of  developmental needs. If your child needs extra help, the setting will tell you.

Healthy Child Programme appointment

Your health visitor will invite you to a Healthy Child Programme appointment. At this appointment they will check your child's physical milestones. If there are any concerns they will talk to you about:

  • integrated review at two meetings
  • any referrals or extra help.

They'll decide the extra help needed using the SEND code of practice (pages 82 to 88).

Extra help

The Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT)

Your early years setting may feel they can't meet all your child's needs. They may ask the Local Inclusion Forum Team for advice.

Before they discuss your child at a LIFT meeting, they will ask for your consent.

LIFT are a group of specialists and practitioners from other early years settings. They aim to find solutions and offer advice. They look at your child's strengths and any difficulties. They will then check what help is available from:

Read our parent guide to LIFT (PDF, 95.5 KB).

Extra resources can be requested via the special educational needs inclusion fund (SENIF).

Education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment

If your child isn't making the expected progress despite the support put in place, your education setting may suggest a formal assessment. This is known as an education, health and care needs assessment (EHCNA).

Help for parents

As well as the support given by your child's early years provider, extra help is available from: