The Education Network for Waltham Forest
Supported by Waltham Forest

Early Years SEND Team

About our service

This is a new service from 1 September 2015, which gives Ofsted registered PVI childcare providers access to an experienced Early Years Area SENCO. The Area SENCO will assist settings in steps 1 and 2 of the Education, Health and Care Planning Pathway. The team will support identifying children aged 0-5 who have, or may have, a Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND Support, step 1), promote inclusive practice and advise on statutory EHC referrals (My Referral, step 2).

This service is provided free of charge, as this is funded from a transfer of funding from the Early Years Block to the High Needs Block of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). It is only for Waltham Forest-based Ofsted registered PVI childcare providers on the Early Years Register, that are delivering Free Early Education Entitlement places to 2, 3 & 4 year old children.

What we offer

Settings are allocated a named Early Years Area SENCO. They will support and guide the setting's own SENCO, to enable your practitioners to fully meet the needs of the children. The Area SENCO will:

  • provide advice and practical support about approaches to identification, assessment and intervention within the SEND Code of Practice
  • provide support for setting-based SENCOs in ensuring arrangements are in place to support children with SEND
  • strengthen the links between the settings, parents, schools, social care and health services
  • develop and disseminate good practice
  • support the development and delivery of training
  • develop links with existing SENCO networks and EY home visitors to support smooth transitions
  • support settings on informing parents of local impartial information, advice and support services, to promote effective work with parents of children in the early years
  • offer a co-produced SEND setting evaluation
  • advise and support on using a person-centred graduated approach (Waltham Forest's My Early Years SEND Support Plans)
  • be the link to the allocated Early Years Educational Psychologist for advice, assessment and possible requests for additional funding
  • signpost setting SENCOs to Waltham Forest SEND information on The Hub and Wiki website
  • offer telephone and email support
  • liaise with the SEN Team for children referred for Education, Health and Care Plans.

Further details about the area SENCO role can be found in the letter from the Early Years SEND Manager, available for logged-in users to download below.

Support to EY PVI settings will be part of the Early Years SEND Team, co-located within Specialist Children's Service, Wood Street. This will allow transparent and transitional work between home and family, health, care and education. The team includes SEND Home Visitors. The home visitors provide a Special Educational Needs and Disability home visiting service, for babies and young children prior to starting at an educational provision. The service provides parents a programme of practical and emotional support, learning activities, help and advice in the care and development of their children. The model is underpinned by Portage and Early Support principles. Families are visited at home on a regular (1-3 times per month) basis by an experienced qualified practitioner, who will work with the parents to support the child's development through play.

Benefits of using our service

Provided free of charge, the Early Years Area SENCOs can provide on-site visits, advice and training sessions to address areas for development. Crucially they support practitioners to develop practice that can increase access and reduce barriers for families with a child with SEND.

This service supports settings in understanding and complying with:

  • The SEND and Equality elements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory guidance
  • Ofsted registration requirements
  • The SEND Code of Practice (2014)
  • The requirements of the local authority's Free Early Education Entitlement (FEEE) contract for the delivery of free nursery education places to two, three and four year-olds


Andy Beckett, Director of Integrated Disability Service
020 8496 6512

Was this page useful?
Last updated: 09 September 2016 by Barry Fong