Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and inclusive practice within the Early years foundation stage
A child has a special educational need if they have a learning difficulty or a disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. Special educational provision is any provision made for the child that is ‘additional to’ or ‘different from’ what is offered to other children of the same age in your setting.
Under the Equality Act 2010 (Gov.uk) you are considered to be disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal activities. Children with special educational needs may have difficulties in one or more of these broad areas:
- cognition and learning
- communication and interaction
- physical and sensory
- social, emotional and mental health
You are required to have arrangements in place to identify and support children with SEND promoting equality of opportunity for children in your care. Visit meet the needs of all children webpage to find out ways to improve your practice.
There are 3 key legal documents which inform you of your statutory duties and responsibilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Role of SENCO
The role of SENCO involves:
- ensuring you understand the responsibilities and your approach to identifying and meeting the needs of children with SEND
- advising and supporting colleagues
- closely involving parents
- liaising with professionals and other agencies beyond your setting
It is particularly important in the early years that there is no delay in making any necessary special educational provision. The SENCO should lead in adopting the graduated approach – assess, plan, do, review.
SEND support services in Northamptonshire
There are many different services available in Northamptonshire where you can access support and advice if you have identified a child with SEND.
Inclusive practice and equalities
Communities are diverse and it is crucial that you value and respect all children and their families. This must be central to good early years practice to provide opportunity for all. Inclusive practice ensures that all children are welcomed and have a sense of belonging and enabled to fully participate in their learning.
The Equality Act provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. Everything that you do needs to be non-discriminatory and this may require regular reviews of practices, policies and procedures to ensure they do not discriminate against people with a ‘protected characteristic’.
The following characteristics are protected characteristics:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
In order to offer equality of opportunity we need to recognise that we are all individual and different. Celebrating our differences and culture provides us with the opportunity to recognise the rich experiences that can enhance all our lives. The early years is where we can make a lasting difference to children’s views of the world, the people and the communities within it and you must demonstrate how you offer an inclusive service.
Guidance to support equality, diversity and inclusion
You should strive to promote and create an environment where all children can flourish and feel safe without prejudice or discrimination.
- challenge negative attitudes and stereotypes
- be a good role model
- set clear expectation for behaviours
- support children to manage their emotions and talk about their feelings
- support children to develop a positive sense of self
- treat all children equally and fairly
- reflect the diverse community within your curriculum and appropriate use of multi-cultural resources
- promote mutual respect and acceptance of faith, cultures and races
- use additional Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) funding to improve opportunities for eligible 3 and 4 year olds
The following learning resources have been designed for you to support equality, diversity and inclusion.
Last updated 04 December 2023