Support for children with SEND in early years

Nurses, pre-schools, and childminders must follow the early years foundation stage (EYFS) when supporting your child in their early childhood setting. It's a national framework that sets the standards for learning and care for children from birth to the end of their reception year.  At 2 years old and at the end of reception year, you will receive written assessments about their progress.

Supporting your child

If you're worried about your child, talk to their keyperson and ask if they share your concerns.

To help children develop, childcare providers are trained and follow advice and guidance. Your child can learn in lots of different ways, so they will try to figure out what works best for them. A booklet called Best Practice Guidance will be given to those working with your child, or you can read a family guide to it (PDF, 808.5 KB).

When your child is between 2 and 3, a review must take place to track their progress. Your child's strengths will be summarised in a document, as will any development areas that aren't on track. If support is needed, your childcare provider will let you know.

As part of the Healthy Child Programme, your health visitor will invite you to an appointment to check your child's physical development milestones and talk about any concerns. It's possible that you'll be offered an 'integrated review at two meeting' if concerns are identified.

The review will be at your child's early years setting so they can see them play and discuss their strengths and needs. Then, if your child needs any additional support or referrals, a joint decision can be made.

Using the SEND code of practice (page 82 to 88), they'll create a plan with you.

Additional help

If they feel they can’t meet all of your child's needs, they may ask for advice from the Local Inclusion Forum Team (LIFT).

You’ll be asked for consent before your child is discussed at a LIFT meeting. LIFT are a group of specialists and practitioners from other early years settings. Their aim is to find solutions, offer advice, look at your child's strengths and the difficulties they face and see how they can help. This could include help from:

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

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

Education, health and care plans

Your child's early years setting may suggest you ask for a formal assessment of their learning needs, if they require additional specialist support. They will look at the support that is currently being provided, and anything additional that could be provided on top.

If required, this may result in an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

Help for parents and guardians

As well as the support that is given by your child's early years provider, you can also find additional help you during your child's early years from: