Early years support for children with additional needs
If you are concerned about your child’s development it is helpful to discuss this with your GP or health visitor, who also carries out checks of children’s development.
If your child goes to places like a playgroup, children’s centre or nursery you can talk about your concerns with your child’s key person or the inclusion coordinator. If your child attends a maintained nursery school this person may be called a SENCO, which stands for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator.
Registered childminders are able to seek advice on planning for children’s needs from the Early Years Advisors.
All early years providers have arrangements in place to identify and support children with additional needs and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). They follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which is a government framework that sets out the standards for monitoring the progress and development of children. They use the ‘Early Years Outcomes’ which provides information on expected outcomes for young children and can help with planning for the next steps.
What is the progress check at two?
When your child is between two and three, early years staff will review progress and provide you with a written summary of their development focusing on communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development.
This check should be in partnership with the Health Visiting Team as a Two Year Old Integrated Review, where an Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) will also be completed.
The progress check enables you and the practitioners to identify your child’s strengths and any concerns or additional needs (including SEND). They will develop a plan with you to support your child and discuss involving anyone else who needs to help and may refer to other specialist services such as speech therapy or physiotherapy.
If it is felt that your child may have SEN or disabilities, they may discuss with you notifying the local authority. This notification will ensure that professionals from the local authority such as educational psychologists or specialist teachers will support your child and work with you and your child to prepare for their transition into school.
What is the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) profile?
The EYFS profile is an assessment completed at the end of your child’s reception year before they move to year 1 and provides you with a picture of your child’s development and learning. It includes information about the main areas mentioned above as well as the specific areas of learning and development: literacy, mathematics, understanding the world and expressive arts and design. This is a further opportunity to identify your child’s strengths, any concerns about their learning and development and an opportunity to involve other professionals as appropriate.
Are there any other times my child’s needs can be identified?
In addition to the progress check at two and the EYFS profile, early years practitioners monitor and review children’s progress throughout the early years. They will work in partnership with you to identify your child’s needs and make a plan if support is needed. If other professionals are involved with your child, the staff at your child’s nursery/children’s centre will use any advice provided to plan. They will use a four step framework called the graduated approach - Assess-Plan-Do-Review - to support your child.
Your child’s key person will work with you to gather information on your child’s strengths and needs. Together you will agree what outcomes should be set to support your child’s development and learning. During the assessment it may be decided, with your agreement, that more specialist assessment is needed for example from a health professional.
A plan to support your child will be drawn up with you. The plan will outline the outcomes for your child, what will be done to support your child and a review date will be set.
Your child’s key person along with other relevant practitioners will implement the plan following the interventions agreed at the planning stage. The plan may include interventions that you have agreed to carry out at home to support your child.
The effectiveness of the support and its impact on your child’s progress is reviewed on an agreed date. Any changes in the outcomes for your child or interventions to support will be agreed. This cycle of action will be ongoing for as long as your child needs this level of planning and monitoring to meet their needs.
What happens when my child transfers to school?
If your child continues to have additional needs or SEND when they are due to transfer to school, the inclusion coordinator will make arrangements with you to share relevant information with the school. If your child has been identified with complex or significant needs they may suggest organising a transition plan meeting with the school. This provides an opportunity for you, the inclusion coordinator and/or the key person and an appropriate member of the school staff (usually the SENCO or early years coordinator) to share information about your child’s learning and development, current support plans developed in the setting and involvement of other professionals. A plan for moving on to school will also be agreed at this meeting.
Early years practitioners and professionals will work in partnership with you to achieve the best possible outcomes for your child in order that they can achieve and become confident and independent learners.
Contact details for further information
Family Information Service
30 Greatorex St
Tel: 020 7364 6495
Drop in Monday to Friday 9am- 5pm
Parents Advice Centre
30 Greatorex St
Tel: 020 7364 6489
Drop-in on Tuesdays and Fridays between 9.30am and 3pm.
Wednesdays between 4pm and 6.30pm
Tower Hamlets Special Educational Needs Section
5 Clove Crescent
Tel:020 7364 4880
Tower Hamlets Early Years Service
5 Clove Crescent
Tel: 020 7364 4925