Isle of Wight Council

Early Years SEN Advisory Team

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: How is SEN support funded in the early years?

Answer: The DfE funds local authorities to provide the free entitlement for 3 and 4 year-olds and some 2 year-olds. This is funded through the early years block of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

All settings make some provision for young children with SEN from their core funding, for example more frequent and intensive engagement with parents, more frequent observations of children, group interventions such as early language programmes. This provision should be set out in the local offer and should be agreed across all providers.

Over and above what settings provide from their core funding, the local authority can supplement this in order to increase the capacity of settings to respond to young children with SEN. They do this in different ways. There are 3 blocks of funding in the DSG: the early years block; the schools block; and the high needs block. Local authorities can move funding between these blocks and, because of this, fund additional support in the early years in a number of different ways. It may be funded:

• by money that is retained from the early years block
• from the high needs block
• through a fund (which may be called an early years inclusion fund or something similar) that draws on either the early years block or the high needs block or both; this funding may be allocated to top up funding for settings or for individual children
• through the provision of services to work with settings, for example: Area SENCOs, specialist peripatetic teachers or home visiting services such as Portage, which are usually funded from the high needs block
• by a combination of funding and services

Funding for provision in a statement or an EHC plan would normally come from the high needs block.

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Question: Will children with education, health and care plans (EHCP) qualify for the EYPP?

Answer: The Early Years Pupil Premium is focused on the most disadvantaged children and the eligible group is consistent with the eligible group for the school-age Pupil Premium. This is simple and clear for providers. A child with an EHCP will, of course, qualify for the EYPP if they meet the eligibility criteria.

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Question: For children aged under five, what are ‘special education needs’?

Answer: A child who is under compulsory school age has a special educational need if they are likely to have a learning difficulty or disability that calls for 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.

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Question: What must Early Years providers do for children under five with disabilities?

Answer: All publicly funded early years providers must promote equality of opportunity for disabled children. All early years providers have duties under the Equality Act 2010, Early Years Foundation Stage and the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice. Both the SEND Code of Practice and the EYFS focus on inclusive practice and removing barriers to learning. The EYFS requires that providers should take steps to ensure that children with medical conditions get the support required to meet those needs. The 2010 Equality Act requires settings to make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at substantial disadvantage. This duty is anticipatory – it requires thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage.

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Question: Does the two year-old early learning entitlement include children with SEN?

Answer: Since September 2014 two-year-old-children who have a statement of special educational needs or an EHC plan or who are entitled to Disability Living Allowance have been entitled to a government funded early education place. Eligible children are entitled to 570 hours of early education a year spread over no fewer than 38 weeks of the year (which equates to 15 hours a week for 38 weeks).

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Question: Can a LA refuse a request for a child for an EHC needs assessment because they are under the age of two?

Answer: Children aged under two are likely to need special educational provision in accordance with an EHC plan where they have particularly complex needs affecting learning, development and health and are likely to require a high level of special educational provision which would not normally be available in mainstream settings. For the majority of those under two, their needs are likely to be met through the local offer. However, a decision to undertake a EHC needs assessment and to issue an EHC plan may be needed in order to allow access to a particular specialist service that cannot otherwise be obtained, such as home-based teaching. The factors a local authority should take into account in deciding whether an EHC plan is necessary are set out in paragraphs 9.53 to 9.56 of the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice.

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Question: The Code mentions two types of SENCOs in the Early Years. What are they and what is the difference?

Answer: There are two types of SENCOs. One is the person who works in the early years provider itself, the other is known as the Area SENCO.

(i) The SENCO in early years provision
A maintained nursery school must ensure that there is a qualified teacher designated as the SENCO in order to ensure the detailed implementation of support for children with SEN. This individual should also have the prescribed qualification for SEN Co-ordination or relevant experience.

The EYFS framework requires other early years providers to have arrangements in place for meeting children’s SEN. Those in group provision are expected to identify a SENCO. Childminders are encouraged to identify a person to act as SENCO and childminders who are registered with a childminder agency or who are part of a network may wish to share that role between them.

(ii) The role of the Area SENCO
Local authorities should ensure that there is sufficient expertise and experience amongst local early years providers to support children with SEN. Local authorities often make use of Area SENCOs to provide advice and guidance to early years providers on the development of inclusive early learning environments. The Area SENCO helps make the links between education, health and social care to facilitate appropriate early provision for children with SEN and their transition to compulsory schooling.

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Question: What happens where a four-year-old isn’t toilet-trained? Will they be allowed to go to school when they are five?

Answer: Whilst the overwhelming majority of children are toilet-trained by the time they start school, there are a very small number who have still to master this developmental milestone. All schools are required to admit these children full-time, and work with the family to help the child develop this skill. Reasonable adjustments may be required to their teaching and support programme, and there may be a need to liaise with the health visitor, depending on the child’s needs.

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Question: Where health visitors have found evidence of developmental delay, how should we tell the local authority?

Answer: Health professionals are under a long-standing duty to bring children aged 0-5 years with SEN or disability, as described in Question 1, to the local authority’s attention for them to consider whether an EHC plan assessment is necessary. The first step should be a conversation with the parent, before getting in contact with the SEND team at the local authority.

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Question: What is a Family Centre?

Answer: Family Centres are here to provide you with information, advice and guidance at every stage of your family journey from conception to your children's adulthood. Family Centres are grouped into three localities. Each locality has a main hub Family Centre which is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and spoke Family Centres which are open at advertised times. - Related Link

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Question: How can I start using the Family Centre service?

Answer: If you are pregnant or have a child or children aged 0-19 then you and your family can attend a Centre. To find out more please phone the centre most convenient for you. - Related Link

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Question: Where are the Family Centre’s located?

Answer: Family Centres are grouped into three localities. Each locality has a main hub Family Centre which is open 9am to
5pm, Monday to Friday, and bespoke Family Centres which are open at advertised times. Family Centres located across the Island in the following locations:

East Cowes
Newport (East)
Newport (West)
West Wight - Related Link

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Question: What services are provided at Family Centres?

Answer: Children's Centres offer all families with children up to the age of 19 a range of services, information and support in their local community.
The support varies according to local needs but most centres offer the following:
Advice during pregnancy and when your baby is born
• Home visiting
• Family drop-ins
• Parenting support
• Information about your child's health needs including support with breastfeeding, weaning and sleep
• Stay and Play sessions
• Training courses to improve your life skills
• Help finding specialist groups and services

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Question: Do we only provide transport for young people who live within statutory walking distance to the school?

Answer: Children with SEN, disabilities or mobility problems who cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school are eligible for free home to school transport arrangements however near the school. - Related Link

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Question: Are decisions on transport made on an individual basis?

Answer: There is no blanket policy to refuse transport for any group of children. - Related Link

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Question: Do we provide transport for anyone receiving the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independent Payments?

Answer: If your child receives these benefits it is unlawful for this to be taken into consideration when making the decision about eligibility for school transport. - Related Link

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Question: Is my child eligible for free transport if she/he doesn't have a statement or Education Health and Care Plan?

Answer: Some children can be eligible for free home to school transport whether or not they have a statement or Education Health Care and Plan - Related Link

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Question: Does a setting have to take disabled children?

Answer: An early years setting cannot refuse to admit a child aged under five years who has a disability, if the reason is related to the disability. Such action may amount to discrimination under the Equality Act.

For a child with an EHC plan, there is a difference between maintained nurseries and private, voluntary and independent provision. A maintained nursery can be named in an EHC plan and, if it is, the nursery must admit that child. For private voluntary and independent provision, the local authority can ask the provider if they are willing to admit that child. The provider can say no.

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