What is expected in the early years

All early years providers are required to have arrangements in place to identify and support children with special educational needs and disabilities and to promote equality of opportunity for children in their care

These requirements are set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. The EYFS framework also requires practitioners to review children’s progress and share a summary with parents.

Involving parents

Parents need to be involved in all aspects of the decision making process and to achieve this early years providers need to work closely with families. 

Information around special educational needs provision must be shared with all parents as well as regular updates on progress of children.


The local authority must ensure that all providers delivering funded early education places meet the needs of children with SEND in their care. Early Years providers should consider how best to use their resources to support the progress of children with SEND.

Once SEND is identified

If your child is identified as having SEND you should be contacted as soon as possible. This early conversation is probably going to be with your child's key worker rather than the special educational needs coordinator (SENCO).

The SENCO in the setting is responsible for ensuring that appropriate systems are in place to meet your child's needs whilst being on hand to offer advice and support to parents when required.

Any decision to involve specialists needs to be taken with parents.

Supportive documents 

The Inclusive Provision for Children with SEND in the Early Years sets out what settings are expected to provide from their Funded Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) for all children including children with SEND.   

A set of inclusive provision easy read documents are also available

Related links

SEND and funded childcare