Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in the EYFS

All early years providers are required to have arrangements in place to identify and support children with SEND and to promote equality of opportunity for children in their care.

The SEND code of practice is a statutory code of practice for all early years providers that are funded by the local authority that contains:

  • details of these legal requirements that you must follow without exception
  • statutory guidance that you must follow by law unless there’s a good reason not to

The Early Years Outcomes is an aid for practitioners to understand the outcomes they should be working towards.

The SEND toolkit for early years has been developed to help Early Years providers understand SEND reforms. 

What support can I access in Northamptonshire?

The Local Offer

Use our Local Offer to search for services available for children and young people (aged 0 to 25 years) with special educational needs and disabilities.

Search the Local Offer

Inclusion network meetings

Inclusion network meetings are a chance to catch up on the latest information, network with other SENCo’s, Inclusion Managers or childminders, and share information updates with a specific focus as chosen at an initial meeting (at the beginning of the academic year) by the participants.

SEND early years support

SEND Support Service supports children aged 0 to 19 years who have additional educational needs, developmental delay or disability. They can offer a range of support alongside other specialist services. e.g. education psychology, sensory impairment service.

If you wish to request involvement for a child from SEND Support Service, you will need to complete the online request form, which can be found on our SEND Support Service page.

Children with SEND may also meet the eligibility for high needs funding. Please visit the High Needs Funding page for further information.

Northamptonshire Inclusion Mentoring Partnership (NIMP) support early years staff that work with special educational needs and disabled children in Northamptonshire by providing training, a knowledge hub and mentoring support.

Referral Management Centre (RMC)

The Referral Management Centre (RMC) offers a single point of access for professionals wishing to make referrals for children and young people​ with health needs.

Resources to support early years children with SEND

The following learning resources have been designed for early years practitioners working with children with SEND.

The documents below have been designed to help childcare providers working with young children who need speech, language and communication support.

SALT Toolkit

Up-to-date information, including the 'Toolkit' can be found on NHS Speech and Language Therapy.

Supporting children with speech, language and communication needs

Every Child A Talker (ECAT) monitoring tool

Every Child a Talker (ECAT) materials:

Other useful website:

SEND code of practice

Guidance on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people:

​The training materials below can support your understanding of inclusion and SEND obligations in Early Years as outlined in the above SEND code of practice.

Learning activities

Use the materials below to set up group learning activities to help you better understand the SEN code of practice.

Activity 1

Activity 2

Activity 3

Activity 4

SEND toolkit

The SEND tool kit for Early Years has been developed by the council for disabled children and 4 children to support Early Years providers understand the SEND reforms.

​The aim of this guidance is to share best practice and statutory legislation with those adults, in a wide variety of early year’s settings and schools who work with and have responsibility for children who are in nappies, not yet toilet trained or have additional developmental or medical needs affecting toileting:

​A PEEP should be completed for any child who requires assistance with any aspect of emergency evacuation.

It should

  •  describe the child’s intended means of escape in the event of an emergency, including drill  
  • specify what type of assistance is agreed and how it is to be maintained to ensure the child’s continued safety and should include assistance required from the point of raising the alarm to passing through the final exit of the building.
  • be coordinated by the SENCo or Manager and a copy of the completed form kept:     
            In the child’s personal records
            By the Manager/ SENCo/Designated Person for health and safety for each building/room identified.  

The plan must be reviewed on an annual basis at least and when a significant change in circumstances (of the building or child) is anticipated or identified.

You can find a blank copy of the form below.

Points to consider:

In preparation for completing details on PEEP, consider the following:

  • Does the child change rooms during the course of the day, which takes them to more than one location within the building and/or other buildings?
  • Does the child have difficulties identifying signs that mark the emergency exits and evacuation routes to emergency exits?
  • Does the child use visual structure e.g. photo keyrings, to support understanding of evacuation and reduce anxiety around change of routine/loud noise etc?
  • Name of child’s 1:1 support person(s) and who will provide support if this adult isn’t in.
  • Does the child have any difficulties hearing the fire alarm or visual difficulties that require support to see the exits/follow the routines etc?
  • Does the child follow adult direction and if not, what support will be available to help him/her safely evacuate?
  • Are they likely to experience problems independently travelling to the nearest emergency exit? Think of steps/furniture/other obstacles that may prevent exit
  • Does the child find stairs difficult to use?
  • Are they dependent on a wheelchair or other equipment for mobility?

Your SEND policy needs to be reviewed annually and sent to the local offer team so that your setting can be on the Local Offer.

Other resources

​The  for access to the Inclusion Development Programme booklets:

  • Supporting children on the autism spectrum: Early Years
  • Supporting children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs: Early Years
  • Supporting children with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties: Early Years