Early Years - SENCO Guide
Related legislation and guidance
There are a number of key legislative frameworks which govern your work as a SENCO. As a SENCO, it is vital to have a good knowledge of the key aspects of each.
- Children and Families Act
- Mental Capacity Act
- Care Act
- Equality Act
- Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 (Chapter 5)
- Supporting children in settings with medical conditions
- Working together to safeguard children
- Early Years Census
- Special Educational Needs and Disabilities regulations 2014
Frameworks relating to setting inspections
The role of the SENCO
The role of the SENCO in Early Years settings is clearly described in chapter 5 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice
Graduated Approach to Inclusion for Early Years
The Plymouth Graduated Approach to inclusion framework for Early Years 0-5 should be used as an electronic tool to support all staff to identify, assess and record the needs of children requiring additional or special educational provision. This framework is designed to support the identification, planning and recording of appropriate support and provides guidance for reviewing progress. Read the full document.
Plymouth, Devon and Torbay Early Communication and Language monitoring tool
This tool outlines key milestones in speech, language and communication development to support identification of children's needs in the Early Years Foundation Stage as part of the Graduated Approach to Inclusion.
The purpose of this tool is to help assess a child's level of development in order to make informed decisions about what the child needs to learn and be able to do next. The tool can help practitioners to notice whether a child is at risk of falling behind in their development and supports early identification of the need for referral for specialist support.
SEND useful contacts
- Council contact details
- NASEN - National Association of Special Educational Needs
- Plymouth Local Offer
- Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT)
SENCO news updates and Early Years SENCO briefings
Working with parents
- Guide to working with parents
- Plymouth Parent Carer Voice (PPCV)
- Plymouth Information, Advice and Support for SEND (PIAS)
Early Years SENCO briefings
Early Years SENCO briefings are held on a regular basis.
This session gives SENCOs the opportunity to be updated on local and national information.
The help you need, at the time you need it
Access (Community Health, Wellbeing and SEND)
Graduated Approach to Inclusion for Early Years helps children, young people, families and professionals to get advice and help from the most appropriate service, at the level required and in a timely way without having to keep repeating the same story.
Schools and settings use the Graduated Approach to Inclusion for Early Years framework to support the 'assess, plan, do, review' cycle of support for the children aged 0-5. Use Access to get the help you need, at the time you need it.
Three organisations are part of Access and can help with community, health and wellbeing support for young people with SEND.
- Livewell Southwest
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Speech and Language, Health Visiting, School Nursing
- University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP)
Child Development Centre/Community Paediatric Services
- Plymouth City Council SEND Service
Early Years Inclusion Service, Advisory Support Team, Local Authority Occupational Therapy Team, Children's Disability Social Work Team, 0-25 SEND Statutory Assessment Team, Plymouth LA Educational Psychology Service and Short Breaks.
If you are working with a child or young person with SEND and it has been agreed with the family that "more help" may be required from a service so that further assessment or intervention can take place you must use the request for more help form and send to email@example.com. If you know that you are requesting more help from Early Year SEND services then you need to specify this in the last box 'What service do you require on the request for more help form.
It may be helpful that a discussion with a PCC SEND professional and parents takes place before a Request for More Help is made.
Paperwork submitted should include;
- Permission from parent to share information with PCC SEND
- up to date summative assessment,
- the most recent reviewed Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 1 Page profiles if the child has one
- a chronology of support and interventions including the Graduated Approach,
- any additional relevant reports or records e.g. speech and language report
- Plymouth, Devon and Torbay Early Communication and Language monitoring tool, Play Skills checklist,
- step and area of need of the Early Years Developmental Journal
- a covering letter explaining what you need support with (optional)
Early Years Inclusion Fund
The aim of the Plymouth Early Years Inclusion Fund is to ensure children receive timely, planned and monitored early interventions to ensure they remain included in their setting and are provided with additional opportunities to access and experience the Early Years Foundation Stage framework.
Accessing other Professional Support
Speech and Language
Speak first to LIVEWELL Southwest who will guide whether your case is suitable for a referral. Some Speech and language training can be accessed free.
Call 01752 434844 or email Livewell.firstname.lastname@example.org
Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (Infant Mental Health - IMH)
Speak first to IMH before making a direct referral.
Call 01752 434615
Child Development Centre (CDC) including the ASC pathway
Via the family GP. Some families may appreciate the setting writing a supporting letter for them to take particularly if they struggle to share information.
Occupational Therapy (OT)
OT support, most children who need OT support will have this already in place but as a setting you may need advice.
Call the Gateway on 01752 668000.
Team Around Me (TAM)
This is a regular meeting of the agencies involved in supporting the child/family. The plan in the EHAT should be used to record what all parties agree to do e.g. parent will take Freddy for a hearing test, Health Visitor (HV) to support mum with sleep routine, setting to support language development by increasing number of nouns used.
The setting may need to coordinate meetings including completing paperwork and this may include chairing meetings including creating an agenda. For advice, contact Gateway.
Getting support for children with SEND in the early years
- Applying for a Statutory Assessment
A Statutory Assessment is a process where information is collected from the settings / childminders and all professionals involved with a child or young person which will enable the Local Authority (LA) to gain a clear picture of their education health and care needs. Below you will find a number of links that will provide further information about statutory assessment.
- EHCP professional portal
Help and support
If you have any questions about SENCOs, please email SENAdmin@plymouth.gov.uk.
This page is part of Plymouth's Local Offer and was last updated on 4 May 2022.