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Do you care for children with special needs?

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in practice supports practitioners, managers and staff with clear guidance on the duties and responsibilities of providers of early years education who care for children with special needs. The book includes chapters on: ● What is SEND? ● Legislation and statutory policy ● Strategies to remove barriers to learning

● Ways to support children with specific conditions ● The role of the SENCO, working with other professionals and multi-agency support

● Safeguarding and child protection. Also ideal for parents and carers who need solid advice on available support and funding.

Chapter Three: SEN Support

Chapter Three: SEN Support

SEN Support

As you conduct your regular observations and assessments you might begin to feel concerned that a child is making little or no progress in the prime areas of the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and suspect they have a special educational need. Together with the SENCO and the child’s parents, you might need to make a decision to implement SEN Support.

SEN Support is the name of the support that must be made available to children who have needs which are different from or additional to other children the same age. We tend to believe that it is better to implement intervention strategies to support children sooner rather than later, but this is not necessarily the case. Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at the University of Oxford, said in a recent TES Pedagogy podcast, “We see a lot of two-year-olds who are not using as many words, and parents get quite concerned if everybody else’s child is chattering away and their child has only got about 20 words…but we know from studies that do follow up that even without any intervention at all, a lot of those children will catch up…you need to look very carefully about who you’re intervening with and make sure that you’re not just wasting resources by intervening with kids that don’t need it”.1

Unfortunately there are no easy answers about when it is the appropriate time to intervene; it rests on professional experience combined with a knowledge of a particular child and their individual circumstances.

SEN Support is delivered through a personalised and individualised graduated approach. The graduated approach leads to a growing understanding of the child’s needs and what support they will need to make good progress. The graduated approach is a four-part cycle: assess, plan, do, review. If a child doesn’t make progress after subsequent cycles of the graduated approach then they may need to be assessed for special educational needs. If a special educational need is identified then they will beadded to your setting’s SEN register.When a child is placed on the SEN register the graduated approach still continues.

‘Where a pupil is identified as having SEN, schools should take action to remove barriers to learning and put effective special educational provision in place. This SEN support should take the form of a four-part cycle through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the pupil’s needs and of what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes.’ SEND code of practice, 6.45-6.53

Thorough assessment of the child’s needs drives the graduated approach and informs the child’s next learning steps. After assessment, a plan is devised for the child and then actioned. After an agreed amount of time this plan is reviewed and the graduated cycle starts again.

High quality teaching forms the basis of the graduated approach. High quality teaching is about having high expectations for all children. It is personalised to individual children’s specific needs, stages of development, interests and ways of learning. It is important to reflect on all the different ways that children learn and apply this to your practice.

‘The EYFS framework does not prescribe a particular teaching approach. It recognises that effective teaching in the early years requires skilled use of a teaching practice repertoire which responds appropriately to the age and needs of the children being taught.’ Early Years Foundation Stage Reforms: Government consultation, January 2020

The SEND code of practice says that high quality teaching ‘draws on what staff know about children’s learning and development, is differentiated for individual children and uses a range of pedagogic approaches’. Learning must be challenging, motivating and enjoyable for all children. The Statutory framework for the foundation stage states that the three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically.

The SEND code of practice states that SEN provision must be put in place by working ‘in partnership with parents to establish the support the child needs’ because ‘delay at this stage can give rise to learning difficulty and subsequently to loss of self-esteem, frustration in learning and to behaviour difficulties’.

Who is responsible for implementing the graduated approach?

Implementing the graduated approach is your responsibility as a practitioner. You do so by working closely with the SENCO and the child’s parent (the term ‘parent’ means anybody with parental responsibility). It is important to gather parent’s views to ensure the most effective plans are put in place to help the child.

‘The graduated approach should be led and co-ordinated by the setting SENCO working with and supporting individual practitioners in the setting and informed by EYFS materials, the Early Years Outcomes guidance and Early Support resources.’ SEND code of practice, 5.45

The Early Years Outcome guidance which replaced Development Matters in 2013 is likely to be replaced by a newer version of Development Matters at some point. The ‘Early Years Foundation Stage Reforms – Government Consultation’ (2020) says, ‘There will be an update of the ‘Development Matters’ guidance’. Early Support is a local authority service that supports children


Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in practice

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in practice

English as an additional language (EAL) in practice

Special Offer: Receive 10% OFF the RRP! Pay Only £18.90 (Quote code SEND1)



09/03/2020 12:40

ISBN: 978-1-912611-32-4 Price: £21.00

✓ Clear understanding of SEND policy in the EYFS

✓ How to ensure that best practice is applied consistently and effectively

✓ What resources are available to support families.

01722 716935


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