Definition of SEN:

  • a child has a special educational need if they have a learning difficulty or disability that calls for special educational provision.
  • A learning difficulty is a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age. 
  • A disability is a disability that prevents or hinders a child from taking advantage of the facilities generally available.
  • Special educational provision is provision that is additional to or different from that which is normally available in mainstream settings. For a child under the age of 2, special educational provision means provision of any kind.
  • A child under school age has SEN if he or she is likely to have SEN when they reach school age, or would do so if special educational provision were not made for them.


UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989):

  • Article 2: All the rights in the Convention apply to children without discrimination
  • Article 3 : The best interests of children should always be a top priority
  • Article 12 : Every child has the right to express his or her views and these views must be taken seriously
  • Article 18: Parents are the most important people in children’s lives and must always do what is best for them. Governments must do all they can to help parents look after children well
  • Article 23: Disabled children should enjoy a full and decent life in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community
  • Article 31: Every child has the right to rest, play, and to do things they enjoy

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities: The UK ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2009. The UNCRPD includes the following:

  • Article 3 sets out the general principles of the Convention, including: full and effective participation and inclusion in society; respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
  • Article 7: Children with Disabilities: includes all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children.

Equality Act 2010 – gives everyone protection from discrimination

Special Education Needs and Disability Act 2001.This legislation requires  educational providers to make ‘reasonable provisions’ to ensure people with disabilities or special needs were provided with the same opportunities as those who were not disabled.

SEN Code of Practice: 0-25 (2014) includes a system to provide SEN support:

The Code requires:

  • early identification and an early response to SEND
  • identification of SEND with parents
  • a graduated approach to responding to SEND
  • a cycle of assess, plan, do, review
  • the involvement of specialists where a child continues to make less than expected progress

EYFS Statutory framework (2017): state that providers must have arrangements in place to support children with SEN or disabilities. Must identify a member of staff to act as Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). Follow the SEN Code of Practice.

In our setting Megan Clatworthy and Louise Hammond are the designated SENCO.

  • sets out an inclusive approach designed to be responsive to individual needs;
  • requires settings to have arrangements in place to identify and support children with SEN or disabilities;
  • requires all providers to make information available to parents about how the setting supports disabled children and children with SEN
  • requires practitioners to review children’s progress and share a summary with parents;
  • requires all settings to promote the good health of children attending the setting and to have and implement a policy, and procedures, for administering medicines
  • focuses on delivering improved outcomes and closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and others.


Individual, unique child:

  • we provide high quality inclusive practice for all children which is responsive to individual children and differentiates and personalises provision to meet the needs of all children including disabled children and children with SEN.
  • We recognise that:
  • every child is a unique child, who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured;
  • children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships;
  •  children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers;
  • children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates.
  • We consider the individual needs, interests, and the stage of development of each child in our care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all areas of learning and development.
  • In planning and guiding children’s activities we reflect on the different ways that children learn and reflect these in our practice. The three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:
  • playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
  • active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements;
  • creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Key person:

  • Each child is assigned a key person. This is an EYFS learning and development requirement and an EYFS safeguarding and welfare requirement.
  • We inform parents and/or carers of the name of the key person, and explain their role, when a child starts attending a setting (please see Key person Policy)
  • The key person must help ensure that every child’s learning and care is tailored to meet their individual needs.
  • The key person must seek to engage and support parents and/or carers in guiding their child’s development at home.
  • The key person will help families engage with more specialist support if appropriate.

Observation, assessment and planning:

  • Observation, assessment and planning are central to tailoring every child’s learning to meet their individual needs.
  • Are used to determine if a child is:
  • Meeting typical development for their age
  • may be at risk of delay or is ahead for their age
  • weplanning ways to extend children’s learning and encourages a cycle of action through:
  • Observation: Look, listen and note. Describe. Observe children as they act and interact in their play, everyday activities and planned activities, and learn from parents about what the child does at home.
  • Assessment: Analysing observations and deciding what they tell us about children.
  • Planning: What steps- Experiences and opportunities, learning environment, resources, routines, practitioners’ role.

First concerns and early identification:

Identifying needs at the earliest point, and then making effective provision, improves long term outcomes for children.

stages of action: assess, plan, do, review.


The early years practitioner works with the setting SENCO and the child’s parents and:

  • Brings together all the information
  •  Analyses the child’s needs

This discussion will build on, and may be held at the same time as, the discussion with parents about their child’s SEN and the decision to make special educational provision for them, see

Special educational needs are generally thought of in 4 broad areas of need and support:

  1. Communication and interaction
  2.  Cognition and learning
  3. Social, emotional and mental health
  4. Sensory and/or physical needs

Where there is a need for more specialist expertise to identify the nature of the child’s needs, or to determine the most effective approach, specialist teachers, educational psychologists or health, social services or other agencies may need to be involved.

  • if a child’s progress in any prime area gives cause for concern, we discuss this with the child’s parents and/or carers and agree how to support the child.
  • We take into account the wishes, views and feelings of the child themselves. We get the child to show us what they like doing and what they find difficult.  By observing the choices the child makes we learn what they like to do and what they avoid.
  • We gather information about the child:
  • the child’s learning and development, within and beyond the setting;
  • observations, formal checks (2 year check), any more detailed assessment, any specialist advice;
  • progress in the prime areas: communication and language, physical development, social and emotional development.

Deciding whether a child has SEN-The key questions that need to be decided are:

  • Does the child have a learning difficulty, that is, a significantly greater difficulty in learning than their peers? A key consideration, but not the sole consideration in this, is whether the child is making expected progress; or
  • Does the child have a disability that prevents or hinders them from making use of the facilities in the setting? and
  • Does the learning difficulty or disability call for special educational provision, that is, provision that is additional to or different from the provision normally made available?

If a child is identified as having SEN we work in partnership with parents to establish the support the child needs. If we make special educational provision for a child with SENwe inform the parents.


  • Where the broad approach to SEN Support has been agreed, the practitioner and the SENCO should agree, in consultation with the parent:
  • The outcomes they are seeking for the child
  • The interventions and support to be put in place
  •  The expected impact on progress, development, behaviour
  • Date for review
  • Plans should:
  • Take into account the views of the child
  •  Select the interventions and support to meet the outcomes identified
  • Base interventions and support on reliable evidence of effectiveness
  • Be delivered by practitioners with relevant skills and knowledge
  • Identify and address any related staff development needs 


  • The practitioner, usually the child’s key person:
  • Remains responsible for working with child on daily basis
  • Implements the agreed interventions or programmes
  • The SENCO supports the key person in:
  • Assessing the child’s response to action taken
  •  Problem solving
  • Advising on effective implementation SEN and disability code of Practice.


  • On the agreed date, the practitioner and SENCO working with the child’s parents, and taking into account the child’s views will:
  • Review the effectiveness of the support
  •  Review the impact of the support on the child’s progress
  • Evaluate the impact and quality of support
  • In the light of child’s progress we agree:
  • Any changes to the outcomes
  • Any changes to the support
  • Next steps

SEN support: what next?

  • At each cycle the key person and SENCO consider, with the parents, and informed by the child’s views, whether the child is making expected progress, and whether:
  • Special educational provision and SEN support continue to be required
  • To revisit the cycle in more detail or with increased frequency
  • More specialist assessment may be called for
  • Staff require more specialist advice or the child requires more specialist support
  • More specialist expertise is needed to inform reasonable adjustments and access arrangements for a disabled child: The child requires an EHC (Education, health and care) needs assessment form the Local Authority.
  • Speak to the Local Authority Area SENCO for advice and support: SEN Department: 01702 215246 SEN advisor: Julie Hollingsworth 01702 534127

EHC assessment:

Most children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities have their support needs met by their local agencies, schools and services (i.e. through the Local Offer) without the need for an EHC Plan. For some children and young people, an Education Health and Care Plan may be required

Children and young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support will have an education, health and care (EHC) plan to identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) bring together a range of health, education and social care information about a child, including:

  • Their personality, hopes and dreams
  • Their strengths
  • The areas where they might need extra help to reach their full potential
  • The results that parents and young people wish to see
  • The services that need to make sure it all happens.

Every Education, Health and Care Plan is personalised to meet the needs and outcomes for each child or young person.

The decision to request a statutory EHC needs assessment is made in relation to the LA criteria published on the Local Offer websit

If requesting a EHC assessment the local authority will require:

  • Information about relevant and purposeful action by the early years setting to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child
  • Information about how the child has not made expected progress.
  • Evidence of the child’s developmental milestones and rate of progress, the nature, extent and context of the child’s SEN, the action taken by the early years provider
  • Any evidence that, where progress has been made, and if it has only been achieved by support that is more than that which is normally provided
  • Information about the child’s physical, emotional, social development and health needs

For more information please read the Governments Special educational needs and disability A guide for parents and carers by following the link below: