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SEND in the Early Years

Early Years Provision for all children

The Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted registered early years providers must follow the EYFS. This includes childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes. All providers must follow the SEND Code of Practice and should use the Graduated Response in Early Years Foundation Stage document to help:

Supporting Early Years Children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND)

Early Years Inclusion and SEND Service

The Early Years Inclusion and SEND Service is a multi-disciplinary team that works with children aged 0 to 5 with SEND. It delivers advice, guidance and support to Early Years providers as part of a continuum of Local Authority services.


The Portage Service provides a weekly home visiting service for children who meet our criteria.  Portage workers are Early Years practitioners who have a good knowledge of child development, and have special needs experience. We are part of Cornwall Council’s Disabled Children and Therapy Service. We provide support & guidance to enable parents to achieve the best outcomes for their child. 

Area Resource Base

Some children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) go to Area Resource Bases (ARB). These small bases are hosted by primary and secondary schools across Cornwall. ARBs support pupils with more complex needs.

Pupils in ARBs receive more tailored, specialist provision than those in a mainstream school. This can include small group work and access to specialist resources and services. In an ARB, pupils can still access parts of the mainstream school and have specialist support. In Cornwall, we have ARBs across the county. This means it is more likely that children and young people will find a school close to home. Most learners can learn alongside their friends and peers.

Special School Provision

Children accessing a special school Foundation Stage class have long-term and complex needs. A child can be considered for a place from 3 years once they have an Education, Health and Care plan. We fund places at:

  • Nancealverne (Penzance)
  • Curnow (Redruth)
  • Doubletrees (near St Austell)

Find out more about these schools on the Special Partnership Trust website.

Support you can expect your child to receive

Early Years Settings that receive government funding must have a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCO). This is a member of staff who is responsible for making sure all the children with SEND have the support they need.

Your child must have a named keyworker. This is the person who is responsible for your child on a daily basis. This is the person to speak to first if you have any worries or just want to talk about how your child is doing.

The approach to support children with SEND includes four stages and parents/carers should be fully involved during all stages.


The early years setting, together with the SENDCO and parents/carers, should work together to explore the cause of any learning difficulty or delay.


Staff should talk to you about your child and the different and additional support they may need. With your consent they may refer to other services, e.g. the Early Years Inclusion and SEND Service, Speech and language therapist, Health Visitor. There should be a written plan setting out this support.


This could include some different and additional provision linked to the targets in their written plan


The setting should agree with you a time and date to review the impact of the written plan. The review is a chance to look at your child’s progress, whether the support is working and whether your child needs further support.

If your child has a significant, complex and long term needs the setting would need to consider whether to apply for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment which may lead to an Education Heath and Care Plan.


Early Years Pupil Premium

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is extra funding for early years settings. It is to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3 and 4 year olds. Settings can use it to provide new resources or pay for staff training.  They can buy in more support and new play or learning experiences. These can all help to improve outcomes.

Disability Access Fund (DAF)

The Disability Access Fund is for three and four year old children who get child Disability Living Allowance (DLA). They must also get the free nursery funding entitlement. DAF is paid to the child’s early years setting as a fixed annual rate of £881.00 per eligible child. Read more on the Disability Access Fund web page.

Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF)

This is a fund that is available to Early Years providers to support the inclusion of children with additional and different needs.

Early Years providers can find information the grant on the Early Years Provider platform.

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