SEND Support in Early Years

What we do

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) covers children from birth to the end of their reception Year (YR) aged 5+.

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 SEND Co-ordinators (known either as Area SENDCo or Early Years SEND Advisers) 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. 

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

1.    We support the settings in their inclusion of children with SEND in various ways, including:

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

  • delivering training over four terms to equip them for the role.
  • hosting termly SEND Co-ordinators Network Meetings keeping SENDCos 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 an Education Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA), SEND Policies and SEND Registers.
  • Being a point of reference for SENDCos to receive general and specific advice.
  • Delivery of training on various aspects of SEND 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/carers, 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 and liaise with colleagues in other boroughs where necessary.

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

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

Should parents or carers wish us to observe their child to offer advice, they should initially approach the SENDCo 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/carers

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

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

We can offer short-term pieces of work for Sutton residents who attend an out-of-borough early years setting. 


Contact point

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

The first point of contact for settings is their individual Area SENDCo. / Early Years SEND Adviser

The contact for general enquiries is Jane Gates, Early Years SEND Lead Adviser, 07736 338981


Further information

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