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Information & advice

SEND in early years

Discover what support and funding is available children with special educational needs and disabilities aged 0 to 5.

Early years support

The years when a child is aged between 0 and 5 are referred to as the Early Years. Getting support for your child with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities as early as possible is important to see the best outcomes for your child. 

All children are entitled to an education that enables them to:

  • Achieve the best possible educational and other outcomes
  • Become confident young children with a growing ability to communicate their own views and ready to make the transition into compulsory education

Support providers

Early years providers should regularly review and evaluate the quality and breadth of the support they offer or can access for children with SEN (Special Educational Needs) or disabilities.

Providers must have arrangements in place to support children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). These arrangements should include a clear approach to identifying and responding to SEN.


SENDCO stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator. Their role includes ensuring parents are closely involved with decisions regarding a child’s progress and intervention, liaising with outside professionals, advising and supporting early years staff on implementing the SEND code of practice.

If you feel your child may benefit from additional provision within the child care setting speak to your child’s key worker or the SENDCO.

Our in-depth guides on early years support and funding have lots more information on the support you may be entitled to and how to get it and fund it. Download the guides and our early years infographic below.

You may also find our guide on choosing a primary school useful.

In-depth guide

Our in-depth guide the support that children aged 0 to 5 with special educational needs and disabilities may be entitled to.

Early years funding

A guide on funding that may be available to young children with SEND and to their parents and carers.

Early years infographic

A handy infographic summarising some key points about early years support that you can download and print.