Skip to main content

Support in early years settings


What extra support is available to help my child in early years settings?

All early years settings have arrangements in place to identify and give extra help to children with special educational needs or disability (SEND).

If your child is making slower progress in his/her development or finding it harder to learn, the setting will work closely with you to see what the difficulties are and put help in place.

If your child is having extra SEND support the setting should tell you (if they are in a maintained nursery school they must formally notify you).

The setting will follow a graduated approach, a four-part cycle (Assess, Plan Do and Review) to put extra help into place:


Use observations and information from families to explore reasons behind slow development, gaps and or difficulties in learning, communication and or social skills. Find out about a child’s strengths and interests.


Decide on what type of support or resources are needed to best meet these needs.


Make sure that this planned support is put into place.


Check that the extra help is making a difference taking into parents view and the response of the child.


The support given can take different forms, for example daily one to one or paired work to develop turn taking skills, small group activities to improve fine motor skills such as cutting, threading and using pencils or following a programme devised by speech and language therapist to develop speaking skills.

Successive cycles of support may include seeking help from external specialists who can give more detailed assessments and make recommendations for the SEND support that should be in place.  

You should be involved at each stage of this cycle and have clear information about what has been put in place and its impact. Croydon LA recommends that settings use SEND Support Plans or Individual Education Plans (IEPs).

If, despite the extra support from the setting and other services, your child is not making progress, together you may decide he/she requires an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan).

Chapter 5 of the SEND Code of Practice explains in more detail the actions early year’s providers should take to identify and meet the needs of young children with SEND.

What is the role of the Early Years SENCO and the Area SENCO?

All maintained nursery schools must have a qualified teacher who takes on the role of SENCo.
Other Croydon early years (EY) settings have staff member who takes on the role of SENCO or Inclusion Lead.

The role of EY SENCOs includes:

  • talking to parents about their child’s needs and keeping parents up to date about the extra help being provided and the difference this is making
  • making all staff aware of their responsibilities and arrangements to identify children with SEND and give extra help
  • providing advice and support to all staff
  • overseeing the monitoring and recording of the SEND support offered to each child
  • acting as the key point of contact with services and professionals who can help assess and support young children with SEND.
  • coordinating referrals for Early Help.

To support the work of SENCOs in early years settings, the LA has an EY Inclusion Lead (Area SENCO). This role:

  • provides advice and practical support for settings so that they can meet the needs of children with a range of special needs
  • facilitates sharing of good practice between settings through regular forums
  • strengthens partnership working between settings and other services and schools.
  • supports the move of EY SEND pupils into school reception classes.

Powered by Open Objects © Idox plc