Norfolk County Council Logo

Early Years SEND - Your questions answered

Q. I am worried that my child might not be learning or picking things up like her friends. What should I do?

A. Lots of parents worry that their child is not developing at the same rate as other children around them. If you want reassurance, speak to your health visitor or GP. If your child attends an early years provision, discuss your concerns with them. There are some helpful guides around development stages, such as ‘What to expect, when?’. Download the guide here 

(Opens in New Window)

Q. The preschool my child attends has said that she’s not meeting her milestones and has suggested that they write a support plan for her. What is a support plan?

A. It is important to discuss any concerns with your child’s preschool. A support plan is a way of identifying and assessing the support your child will need at the setting. This would be agreed with you and can often include simple things that can be enjoyed at home too. You might want to chat with your child’s key person or the setting’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo). The SENCo is trained to support children who may need some additional support and help to enable them to flourish. 

Q. How do I know that the preschool is helping my child with their additional support needs?

A. Your child’s setting should be regularly communicating with you around your child’s progress and if they have a support plan in place, this would be reviewed together on a regular basis. It is also helpful for you to share your thoughts and progress at home and to let the setting know if you have spoken with or seen any other professionals. This may include sharing copies of any letters or reports and should ensure that a consistent approach is used in the best interests of your child. If you have any concerns about the setting, you should initially talk this through with them, or the manager if necessary. Each provision will have their own complaints policy and you can also contact Ofsted directly if you are still unhappy. 

Q. How is having special educational needs defined?

A. A child who is below compulsory school age has a special educational need if they have a learning difficulty or disability that is likely to require special educational provision when they reach compulsory school age or they would do, if special educational provision was not made for them.

For children under the age of two, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind, including home-based programmes.  

Q. Where can I find out about local support groups and other advice available?

Visit the Local Offer website - your one-stop shop for information about special educational needs and disability. Browse the website to find support, services and advice all in one place! 

Q. What support can be offered to children under 5 with special educational needs?  

A. SEND support for children under 5 includes:

• a progress check and/or Shared Review 

• making reasonable adjustments for children with disabilities

• a written assessment in the summer term of your child’s first year of primary school

All children in Norfolk who attend an Early Years setting (for example, a childcare provider such as a nursery or childminder) will be offered a health and education review between the ages of 27-30 months. In Norfolk, this is known as the Shared Review. This is an opportunity to talk to a professional from the Healthy Child team (this is normally a health visitor or nursery nurse) about your child’s progress and discuss any concerns that you might have about their development.  

All early years providers will have their own Local Offer explaining how they meet the needs of children with SEND. If your child needs extra help, this will be planned in a step-by-step way and you will be involved in establishing the supports your child needs. Find out more HERE 

Other support can include:

• specialist support from the Healthy Child Programme (HCP) team and speech and language therapists

• Early childhood and family service (ECFS) support

• home-based programmes such as Portage, which offer a structured programme to help parents support their child’s early learning and development.

If your child does not currently attend an early years setting but you think they may have some additional support needs or a disability, talk to a doctor or health professional. They will be able to tell you what support options are available. You can also find details of local services here

NEO for families

Support your families to create a NEO account to complete eligibility checks

NEO for families