What SEND Support Is Available For Children Under 5?
The Law Of... Getting The Right Support
Samantha Hale, Associate in Education and Community Care, explains what educational support is available to children under 5 with SEND.
How Can Nurseries Support Children Who Have SEND?
Nurseries and other early learning years providers have to follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which sets out statutory guidelines on promoting a child's education whilst keeping them safe.
Both nurseries and other early learning providers have to stick to the EYFS' safeguarding and learning and development regulations. It's compulsory for all early years education providers to accommodate the needs of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). This includes having a strategy for identifying when a child could have SEND and how to support them.
Nurseries and other early years providers also have a legal duty not to "discriminate, harass or victimise disabled children", which is confirmed by the Special Educational Needs and Disability guide for parents and carers.
What SEN Support Is Available For Children Under 5?
If your child is under 5 and they have SEND, the support they can receive at a nursery or other early years provider includes:
- A written report on their progress – this is carried out when they reach the age of 2
- A health check carried out when they're 2 – 3 years old; a health visitor will be responsible for doing this
- A written assessment at the end of their first year of school (this will be in the summer term)
- Reasonable adjustments made for them if they have disabilities
If you think your child has SEND but they don't go to a nursery or other early years provider, it's a good idea to speak to your doctor or a health advisor to see what further support is available.
What Does The Progress Check Involve?
When your child is aged 2 – 3, their progress will be reviewed. After the review, you'll get a report that includes information about your child's strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement along with details on how your child will be supported.
If the person doing the review finds any concerns or they believe your child has SEND they should develop a plan that outlines what support should be given to your child. The plan can also include information about the different professionals who can work with your child, such as Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs). This plan should then be implemented and reviewed regularly.
Can Children Under 5 Get Education, Health And Care Plans (EHCPs)?
If your child's SEND can't be met by their nursery or early years provider alone, an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) can be requested from your Local Authority (LA). Either you or your child's nursery or other early years provider can make a request for an EHCNA.
Once your LA has received a request for an EHCNA it has 6 weeks from the date of receipt in which it must decide whether to carry out this assessment. If your LA decides not to do an EHCNA then it must tell you about this decision before the end of the 6-week period.
If you or your child's school made a request for an EHCNA and this was rejected, you can appeal against this decision. If the LA agrees to carry out an EHCNA, after doing this they will need to decide whether or not they will issue an EHCP. If they refuse to do this, you can also appeal against this decision. If they agree to issue an EHCP, you should receive a draft, which you can provide comments on and then a final EHCP.
Once a final EHCP is received the plan is legally enforceable. However, if you are not happy with the contents of it, you can appeal to make amendments to it. Get in touch with our Education team on 0808 129 3320 to find out more about the appeals process and for advice on the merits of appealing.
How Can Simpson Millar Help Me?
As we specialise in Education Law, our experts will ensure that your child gets the support that they're entitled to. If your LA is refusing to do an EHCNA for your child or refusing to issue an EHCP, we can help you appeal against this.
If you're unhappy with your child's EHCP, we can help you get this amended as well as reviewing the EHCP and offering you advice. We have successfully helped countless clients get the best outcome for their children's future – get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.