Children aged between 0-5 years are said to be in their “early years”. This is an important time for all children because long term development can be affected by the experiences a child has early-on in life. This is especially important for children who have special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND).
It is particularly important in the early years that there is no delay in making any necessary special educational provision. Delay at this stage can give rise to learning difficulty and subsequently to loss of self-esteem, frustration in learning and to behaviour difficulties. Early action to address identified needs is critical to the future progress and improved outcomes that are essential in helping the child to prepare for adult life. (SEND Code of Practice 5.36)
Help with childcare costs
All 3 to 4-year-olds, and some 2-year-olds, can get 15 hours per week (570 hours per year) of free early education or childcare. This starts from the term after the child turns 2 or 3. Some 3 and 4-year-olds can get 30 hours of free childcare per week (1040 hours per year).
Visit the Childcare Choices website to find out about the types of funding, eligibility criteria and how to apply.
What are special educational needs for children under 5?
A child who is under compulsory school age has a special educational need if they have a learning difficulty or disability that is likely to require special educational provision when they reach compulsory school age or they would do, if special educational provision was not made for them. For children under the age of two, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind, including home-based programmes. SEND Code of Practice 2014.
Support for young children with SEND and their parents
Every early years provider should have a named SENCo or INCo (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator) who is responsible for overseeing the inclusive environment and co-ordinating the SEND practice and provision. They will have regard to the SEND Code of Practice and will support staff to meet each child’s needs where possible, building a positive partnership with parents.
Support may also be sought from:
- Health visiting service – telephone 0300 123 6629.
- Your child’s early years provider. This could be a nursery, childminder or pre-school.
- Solent Therapies – includes speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists
- The vision and hearing team
How early years providers support children with SEND
All early years providers are required to offer an inclusive environment and to understand and respond to individual children’s needs working in partnership with parents and carers.
- promote equality of opportunity for disabled children
- provide inclusive practice
- remove barriers to learning
- ensure children with medical conditions get the support they need
- make reasonable adjustments to include every child.
To find more information on how we support children under 5 with SEND in Portsmouth, scroll down and choose one of the sections below.