Early years support (age 0-6)
Early years provision in Shropshire is provided by both maintained nurseries (where the nursery is part of a school) and private, voluntary and independent early years provision (PVI) including childminders. Wherever possible, children with special educational needs and disabilities will be made welcome, and have their needs met in their local setting. There's also a specialist nursery at Severndale School in Shrewsbury.
Funded nursery entitlement
All children are entitled to 15 hours free nursery education from the term after their third birthday. Some children with special educational needs or a disability are entitled to 15 hours free early years education from the term after their second birthday. Take a look at the full details of the eligibility criteria for funding for two year olds on our early years pages.
Some nursery settings may charge extras for things such as lunch, some equipment, trips etc. Please note that extra charges should be optional and not a condition of the funded hours. Please discuss this with your child's nursery setting to ensure that you are aware of all possible charges.
SEND support at nursery
Most early years settings have staff trained to identify and support children’s additional needs, and many have experience of supporting a range of needs. Each setting will have a member of staff responsible for SEND (the special educational needs coordinator, or 'SENCO'). Early years settings work closely with a range of other services, such as our SEN team, health visitors, speech and language therapists and Sure Start children’s services to promote equality of opportunity for children in their care. These requirements are set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), as well as in the SEND Code of Practice, chapter 5.
Parents and carers are experts in their child’s development. Working together to identify, assess, plan and review, from the earliest opportunity, is essential to ensuring the best possible outcomes for children with SEND.
Partnership working with parents is a requirement of both the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (March 2014) and the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (September 2014).
If you are concerned about your child's development
Parents who have concerns about their child’s development should in the first instance talk to their child’s key person in the setting, who should involve the setting SENCO in planning the best course of action. This could include:
- Making more focused observations of the child
- Checking developmental milestones against developmental expectations
- Putting into place some targeted opportunities or activities
- Contacting us for further advice and guidance (area SENCO) or referring to partner agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy
The graduated approach
All settings should adopt a graduated approach with four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review.
- Assess – A thorough and holistic assessment is essential to ensure that the ‘needs’ are accurately identified to ensure that the most appropriate and effective interventions are implemented. Assessments may be carried out by school staff (eg Dyslexia, Early Help – ‘Family Webstar’) or may involve external agencies (educational psychologists, specialist outreach support, Sensory Inclusion Service)
- Plan – Once the key barriers to learning have been identified it is possible to plan the most effective interventions. The teacher and SENCo should agree, in consultation with the parent and the pupil, the adjustments, interventions and support to be put in place. All teachers and support staff who work with the pupil should be aware of their needs, the outcomes sought, the support provided and any teaching strategies or approaches that are required
- Do – The class or subject teacher should remain responsible for working with the child on a daily basis. Where the interventions involve group or 1:1 teaching away from the main class or subject teacher, they should still retain responsibility for the pupil. They should work closely with any TAs to plan and assess the impact of support and interventions and how they can be linked to classroom teaching. The SENCo should support the class teacher and provide advice on the effective implementation of support
- Review – The impact and quality of the support and interventions should be evaluated, along with the views of the parent and child. The class teacher, working with the SENCo, should revise the support in light of the pupil’s progress and development.
Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP)
If you'd like to submit a request for an education, health and care assessment, please refer to our EHC assessment request page.
If in exceptional circumstances it's not possible for a parent to discuss their child’s special educational needs with an early years provider it's possible to contact the education improvement adviser with responsibility for Early Years SEN by emailing the SEN team.
Parents looking for a suitable early years setting for their child should make contact with the setting of their choice; many will have information about their support for children with additional needs on their website or in their prospectus. A full list of early years providers in the area is available from the Family Information Service by phone on 01743 254400 or via the Family Information Directory.