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Early Years SEN Advisory Team (Area SENCo. Team)

What we do
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) covers children from birth to the end of their reception Year.

We support all early years settings and schools who deliver the EYFS and are in receipt of the Free Entitlement Funding (FEF) including  Maintained Schools (Nursery and Reception Classes) Independent Schools (Nursery and Reception Classes) Pre-Schools, Playgroups, Day Nurseries and Childminders in developing and maintaining good inclusive practice, in line with the principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the SEND Code of Practice.

How we work

Our team consists of experienced SEN Co-ordinations in both maintained schools and early years settings. We sit within the wider Early Years Advisory Team whose role is to support all providers of early years’ education and care. We are managed by the Lead Inspector for Early Education.

The specific work of the Area SENCo Team has two aspects –

1.    We support the settings in their inclusion of children with additional needs, SEN or Disabilities in various ways, including:

Support and training for the named SEN Co-ordinator in his / her role by:

  • delivering training over four terms to equip them for the role.
  • hosting termly SEN Co-ordinators Network Meetings keeping SENCos up to date with current good practice and knowledge in various areas.
  • organising multi-professional meetings to review or set targets for individual children within their setting, to gather or pass on information about children on starting or during transition to school or between settings via a Transition Meeting or program.
  • Supporting liaison with other professional colleagues, such as Health Professionals, Portage Workers and Social Care.
  • Providing practical support and help in completing paperwork for Statutory Assessment, SEN Policies and SEN Registers.
  • Being a point of reference for SENCos to receive general and specific advice.
  • Delivery of training on various aspects of SEN throughout the year and providing ‘in-house’ training to whole settings, where needed, on request.
  • Visits to each group setting throughout the year to observe children, attend meetings with parents, practitioners and other professionals, give advice to key persons, help to set individual targets, modelling of appropriate strategies, providing written reports and general feedback.
  • Giving general advice to settings’ management regarding inclusive practice and procedures, policy writing, etc.
  • Working closely with the Childminder Development Officer to support childminders in their inclusive practice and procedures.

2.    We represent the Early Years workforce on various local panels and working groups such as CONTACTS and Special Bases Panels and liaise with colleagues in other boroughs where necessary.

Referral to our service comes through the early years setting following parental consent.

We also have some referrals directly from professional colleagues, e.g. Speech and Language Therapists, again, following parental consent.

Should parents wish us to observe their child to offer advice, they should initially approach the SENCo in whichever setting their child attends.

Childminders can access advice via the childminder development officer.

How we support schools
The EYFS refers to ALL providers of free early education whether they be Maintained Schools, Independent Schools,   Pre-schools, Day Nurseries or Childminders.   

We support all these groups through methods described above.

How we support children and young people
We work to ensure that every child is included and has access to all activities provided in whichever setting they attend. We advise settings on making reasonable adjustments to their provision.

We work with the setting management, practitioners and other professionals involved to ensure each child reaches her/ his potential.

We support the child through times of transition by organising meetings so that their needs are known and their voice heard.

How we support parents
We support parents through our work with settings and seek to include them in all discussions about their child.

We can help to signpost parents to appropriate other services and support with making referrals if needed.

How the service is funded
We are officers of the Local Authority and sit within the wider Early Years Advisory Team whose role is to support all Early Years providers. We are managed by the Lead Inspector for Early Education.

Contact point
The first point of contact for parents is their child’s key person and / or the setting SENCo.

The first point of contact for settings is their individual Area SENCo.

Contact for general enquiries can be made to Jane Gates, Early Years SEN Lead Adviser,
0208 770 5543.

Further information
EYFS resources
National Children's Bureau
Early years: guide to the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice