Early Years providers in Cornwall use the Graduated Response in Early Years Foundation Stage. This helps to meet the individual needs of children with (SEN). This page is an introduction to all the support available in Cornwall.
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. They should use the Graduated Response in Early Years Foundation Stage document to help.
View the most recent Statutory Framework for EYFS.
Early Years support in Cornwall Council
Some 2 year olds can get 15 hours a week in a setting rated as good or outstanding by OFSTED. This is called Early Years Entitlement. It depends on the family’s financial circumstances or if a child has a disability. You can check if you can get this on the Care and Support in Cornwall website.
All 3 and 4 year olds have an Early Years Entitlement of 15 hours a week. This starts from the term after their 3rd birthday. Their families can access a range of Early Years settings including:
- maintained nurseries
- private day nurseries
- private and voluntary pre-schools
Some families with 3 and 4 year old children can get up to 30 hours free childcare. You can check your eligibility on the Care and Support in Cornwall website.
Any registered early years setting is required by law:
- to deliver the EYFS
- to accept children with SEN
- is Ofsted assured
- is able to access support from Local Authority services
Each setting is different. They may offer different opening hours or different term times. Their ethos will influence how they deliver the EYFS. Parents can visit settings so they can make an informed decision about what is right for their child.
Early Years Service (EYS)
The EYS is a multi-disciplinary team that delivers SEN services to Early Years providers. as part of a continuum of Local Authority services. We work with children aged 0 to 5 with SEND. We also work with other families to access their early years education entitlement.
The service includes the following staff:
- Senior Locality Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos)
- Early Years Educational Psychologists
- Early Years Autism and social communication workers
- Early Years Inclusion Workers
The Portage Service
The Portage Service visit children in their homes. This is for children aged from 6 months up to the point at which they transition to an Early Years Setting. Portage workers are Early Years practitioners. We 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 and guidance to enable parents to achieve the best outcomes for their child.
This is an approach for children aged 0-19 years with a disability or long term additional need. It aims to:
- Include child and family priorities as central to planning next steps.
- Support the family with advice
- Define roles and responsibilities of the professionals involved.
- Limit duplication of services
The multi-agency Team Around the Child (TAC) works together to meet the child and family’s needs. The family is supported by their chosen Lead Professional.
To make a referral to the Early Support Team please visit the Early Support page.
Find out more at the Council for Disabled Children website.
For children with a higher level of need
Some children with more complex needs need more specialist support as part of their Early Years entitlement. To access this you would have a discussion with the Early Years service. Your child may attend a Child Development Centre (CDC) for a short time.
Child Development Centres
There are currently four Child Development Centres (CDCs) in Cornwall. They are in Liskeard, St Columb Major, Truro and Penzance. There is also a CDC teacher that supports children in the Launceston and Bude areas. They offer support in periods of targeted intervention, from CDC staff. This may be either in the child's local setting or from a period of support at one of the CDC bases.
The Early Years Service, an education or health professional request CDC involvement. Places are allocated by a central, multi-agency panel.
For pre-school children CDCs offer:
- Specialist short term nursery provision (2-3 terms). Either by the child attending (in reach placement), or through support to another setting (outreach placement). Sometimes it is a combination of these.
- Multi agency assessment
- Minimum ratios of 1:3 with a qualified teacher and a nursery nurse
- Supported transition to local early years settings or to school depending on the child’s age
- Specialist teacher and Speech and Language Therapist intervention
Placement at a centre is for 2 or 3 sessions per week during term time. It is best if this is alongside their local mainstream setting in an in reach placement. Or support at their local Early Years Setting by the CDC staff in an outreach placement.
This place is not additional to the 15 hours of Early Funding entitlement. It is counted as part of it.
Special School Provision
Children accessing a special school Foundation Stage class have long-term 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.
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.
Disablility 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 £615 per eligible child. Read more on the Disability Access Fund web page.
Early Years Inclusion Grant
If a child needs a lot of extra support and they don’t already have an EHC plan, the setting can apply for extra funding to make sure they are included. This is through the Early Years Inclusion Grant. The Early Years Quality Improvement Support Programme has more information.
Below are a few of the key resources to support teaching and learning of SEND to Early Years. There are plenty more online.
- Foundation Years - latest news and information related to Early Years Education.
- SEND Guide for early years settings - government guide for early years settings. It explains the support system for children and young people with SEND.
- Disabled Children and the Equality Act 2010. - produced by the Council for Disabled Children. It sets out the statutory duties of Early Years settings in relation to Equality Act 2010.
- The Early Years SEN Toolkit - produced by Philippa Stobbs from the Council for Disabled Children. It supports early years providers in implementing the SEN and disability reforms.
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