Early years provision in Bath and North East Somerset 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 in Bath called Bath Opportunity Pre-School (BOP).

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.

From September 2017 families with a 3 or 4 year old who attend a Bath and North East Somerset childcare provider could receive an additional 15 hours of free childcare per week.  This will be in addition to the current entitlement of 15 hours free childcare per week, which all 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to.  Further information regarding the additional 15 hours free childcare (up to 30 hours) and how to apply can be found on the official government website here.

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').  All settings should adopt a graduated approach with four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review. Early years settings work closely with a range of other services, such as our Early Years SEND Inclusion Team, Health Visitors, Speech and Language Therapists and Children’s Centres 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 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 the Early Years SEND Inclusion Team for further advice and guidance (Area SENCO) or referring to partner agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy

How can parents/carers find additional information regarding what support is available in Bath and North East Somerset for children with SEND?

Early Years Area SENCo Team (formerly SENDIT) – The team provide support, guidance and challenge to over 100 Early Years group-based settings and registered childminders. We promote and support early identification of needs and effective inclusive practice, enabling providers to improve outcomes for children with SEND aged 0-5 years.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Inclusion Panel (SENDIP) - SENDIP is a panel made up of a range of representatives from across the sector.  The primary purpose of SENDIP is to support the inclusion of young children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities, or those who are particularly vulnerable, into and within early years settings and through their transition into school.  Funding is allocated to early years settings to specifically support children at the SEN Support Stage of the Code of Practice 2014.

Disability Access Fund (DAF) - From April 2017 the government has introduced a new funding measure for early years providers, the Disability Access Fund (DAF), to support children with disabilities or SEN.  The DAF aids access to early years places by, for example, supporting in making reasonable adjustments to their settings, purchasing specialist equipment and/or seeking specialist training that would support providers to meet the child's needs.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) - Service Information and EHC Planning – The link will take you to a page which provides relevant information on the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment for professionals and parents.

Health Services – This page is currently in progress and will be updated shortly to provide further information on the Health Services available.

SEND Partnership Service - The SEND Partnership Service (SPS) provides free confidential and impartial information, advice and support about matters relating to special educational need or disability, including health and social care

Children’s Centre Local Offer - Children’s Centres work with children aged 0-5 years but also signpost families to appropriate services for older children.  They provide support for parents/carers and their children if there is a concern around their child’s development.  The highly skilled team work closely alongside other professionals to ensure the best support is in place to suit the individual child and family.

Short Breaks for Disabled Children - Short breaks provide invaluable support for disabled children, young people and their families.  It provides disabled children and young people with the opportunity to experience new relationships, environments and positive activities which provides them with valuable social skills and independence.  Families are able to take time out to recharge their batteries or provide additional support so that the whole family can enjoy activities together.

Disabled Children’s Team (DCT) - DCT provides a social care service for disabled children. As well as social work assessment and support, this team provides an occupational therapy service and access to short break services, including direct payments for short break care. The team provides a comprehensive social work service for disabled children and young people which includes child protection and social work support for disabled children in care.

Rainbow Resource - The Rainbow Resource forms part of our Local Offer providing information on the services children, young people and their families can expect from a range of local agencies – including education, health and social care providers and voluntary organisations.

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