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Supporting children with SEND

As a childcare professional or special educational needs coordinator (SENCO), you'll be working with children with a variety of additional inclusion, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). On this page you'll find lots of information and resources you can use.

Page contents

SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years and the local offer

The SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years came into force on the 1 September 2014. The code covers the 0 to 25 age and sets out the statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures for all organisations who work with and support children and young people with SEND. It relates to Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

The main changes are that children and young people with SEND are now supported by a single education, health and care plan 0 to 25 (instead of an SEN statement). Families can also be more actively engaged in reviewing and accessing the services available to them through Surrey's Local Offer.

Banding arrangements for children with SEND

You can download the banding arrangement documents from the SEND resources for professionals page on the Surrey Local Offer website.

The Banding arrangements for early years guidance will help you decide what level of support a child with SEND might need. It also gives you links to guidance and proformas. For more information, talk to your SEND Advisor.

For older children with SEND, refer to the Banding arrangements for school aged pupils (5 to 16) guidance. It's aimed at schools and special provision but you may find it useful. If in doubt, speak to your SEND Advisor.

SEND Support Notifications

SEND Support Notifications are a way for health professionals to formally tell your setting about a child. They use them for pre school children who have complex or significant special educational needs that are beyond what can be provided through the Local Offer level of support (set out in the Banding arrangements for early years document above).

You can download SEND Support Arrangements Guidance for Pre School Children from the SEND resources for professionals page on the Surrey Local Offer website. It gives you guidance on what happens after you get a notification and what support you'll need to put in place for the child.

Following a SEND Support Notification, you may need to ask for advice from an educational psychologist to help you plan the support the child may need in the future. To do this you need to fill in an Early Years Setting Request for Educational Psychology Involvement form - you can download this from the SEND resources for professionals page on the Surrey Local Offer website.

Speak to your SEND Advisor if you need any help around SEND Support Notifications or requests for an educational psychologist.

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Individual Support Plans

Individual Support Plans (Word) are part of the first level of support you might put in place for a child or young person with additional needs. You can use it to monitor, set targets and agree on outcomes for children.

Make sure you follow the review cycle in the SEND Code of Practice and assess, plan, do and review. After reviewing the support in place and the child or young person's needs, if they need more support you could move them on to SEND Support Arrangements or possibly an Education, Health and Care Plan.

SEND Support Arrangements (known before as Pathway Plans)

SEND Support Arrangements are a way of supporting children and young people with SEND holistically and aims to make sure that their voice and their family ;are heard and represented. It comes before an Education, Health and Care Plan.

You can download a SEND Support Arrangements template and guidance from the SEND resources for professionals page on the Surrey Local Offer website.

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Education, Health and Care Plans

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) 0 to 25 are for children and young people with the highest level of need and have replaced statements of educational need. EHCP coordinators support families through the process, coordinate Team Around the Child meetings and work with the family and other professionals to produce a person centred plan, focusing on outcomes for the child or young person.

If you're supporting a child or young person with an EHCP you will be invited to Team Around the Child meetings and may be asked to share any plans you have put in place to support the child. This could include feedback from meetings with parents or a One-page profile which is useful to help you really get to know the child (you'll find this in the EHCP template on the SEND resources for professionals page on the Surrey Local Offer website).

You can download forms and guidance about EHCPs from the SEND resources for professionals page on the Surrey Local Offer website.

One-page profile for playworkers

The changes to the Children's and Families Act 2014 require us all to work in a new and more coordinated way. And children, parents and families should play a key role in decision making. One-page profiles are a practical way of recording and sharing information about an individual. You can use them to help you to get to know both the colleagues and young people you support.

A One-page profile:

  • gives you the most important information summarised on one-page
  • always has three headings (what people like about me, what is important to me and how best to support me)
  • focuses both on what matters to the person and how to support them.

You can download our One-page profile guidance for playworkers (Word).

Home-based childcarers

Childminders can access support and guidance from the Surrey SEND Advisory Team for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

If you're a nanny and care for a child with SEND, you don't have any statutory duties within legislation so you don't need to write things like Individual Support Plans. But you should still support the family and may be invited to Team Around the Child meetings.

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Best practice and practical ideas

For children aged 0 to 5

We've talked to the experts to bring you best practice ideas for supporting young children with:

We also have a series of early years activity sheets (PDF) from the Paediatric Occupational Therapy Service. Examples of topics include managing noise, attention, dressing skills, body awareness, postural control, precise finger movements and pre-writing skills.

For playworkers

Our Children's Access to Play cards (PDF) have key information about supporting children and young people with impairments. They briefly describe the impairment, highlight how this might affect a child and give possible inclusion ideas. There are cards on:

  • Care plans
  • Autism (including Asperger's Syndrome)
  • Behavioural difficulties (including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Blind or visually impaired
  • Deaf or hearing impaired
  • Epilepsy
  • Learning impairment
  • Physical impairment
  • Speech, language and communication needs.

You may also find our page about supporting children with autism useful.

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Children's occupational therapy

It's important that children with special educational needs are identified early so they can get the support they need. The Early years resource pack (PDF) from Paediatric Occupational Therapy Services will help you to understand the role of an occupational therapist in early years settings and how to make referrals. It also includes charts of how to identify difficulties and suggests activities to encourage children's development.

Grants and funding

If you work in a day nursery, pre school, extended day pre school or nursery unit of an independent school, we offer an inclusion grant to help with the extra staff time and resources some children need. And we may be able to offer you discretionary funding (Word) to give children with more complex needs 1:1 support in your setting, speak to your SEND Advisor to find out more.

You may also be eligible to receive funding from the Disability Access Fund (DAF). This is available to support three and four year olds in receipt of Disability Living Allowance to take up their free early education funding at your setting. A lump sum payment of £615 per year is available to providers even if the child attends for fewer than 570 hours a year.

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Intimate care and toileting guidance

The Intimate care and toileting guidance (PDF) will help you support children in your setting with delayed continence or who are not yet toilet trained. These children may be delayed in toileting because of their additional needs or disability. We've also included some formats to plan for the support that may be needed.

If you care for a child with autism, you may find the National Autistic Society's guidance on toileting problems useful on their Teaching young children with autism web page.

Contact your SEND Advisor if you need more advice.

Speech and language referrals

Children and Family Health Surrey are now responsible for paediatric speech and language therapy services in Surrey. Details of their service and how to contact them can be found on their website or by calling 0345 222 1517.

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Transition documents

For children starting primary school, we've designed the Transition meeting report (Word) and the Transfer form (Word) to support you in arranging transition meetings and passing on information for children with additional needs to their school or playwork setting.

You may also find our pages on supporting children with horizontal transitions and vertical transitions useful.

Concerned about a child?

If you have a concern about a child or young person, monitor and observe them and talk through your concerns with the child or young person's parents.

If you need advice, email your area SEND advisor to request support:

  • north east:
  • north west:
  • south east:
  • south west:

If we feel we need to visit the child at your setting, you'll need to get consent from the child's parents. We will meet with the parents during the visit to give them feedback.

Contact us

If you need advice or have any questions about referrals, contact your SEND advisor. If you are unsure who this is email your local SEND Advisory Team:

  • North east:
  • North west:
  • South east:
  • South west:

Files available to download