Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Welcome to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) information and guidance pages for managers, SENCOs and practitioners working in early years settings in Essex.

Remember to check the News section for the latest updates. You will also find a range of information in the Resources section.

You may also find the Early Years SEN Question and Answers useful to read. 

SEND enquiry mailbox for childminders

Early Years SENCO News

We are pleased to have launched the monthly Early Years SENCO News in 2015.

Our aim is to share information, advice and guidance around SEND issues with early years practitioners, particularly setting SENCOs. By including contributions from Essex practitioners, we hope to inspire SENCOs to reflect on and further develop their setting's practice.

If you would like to join the mailing list for this monthly newsletter, please email your name, setting and email address to: EarlyYearsSENCO.News@essex.gov.uk with the subject 'MAILING LIST'.  You can also choose to stop receiving these newsletters by emailing us with the subject 'UNSUBSCRIBE'.

Older issues of these newsletters are available from this archive page.

Latest EYCC SENCO newsletter:

PDF icon Issue 49 - February 2019 - PDF, 646KB

PDF icon Issue 48 - January 2019 - PDF, 469KB

SEND Code of Practice

The Children and Families Act 2014 includes changes to the support and services children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities will receive. These changes came into force on 1 September 2014 and affect all practitioners.

The 0 to 25 Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice sets out a more individualised response to support children with special educational needs and disabilities.

You can read more at GOV.UK

Your setting may also be supported by the following:



Overview of SEND code of practice for early years eLearning. Full details here.

Good Beginnings

Good Beginnings is a multi-agency Essex programme to support preschool children who have social communication difficulties or autistic spectrum disorder, their families and practitioners who work with them.

The Autism Education Trust has developed a competency and standards framework for practitioners working with children on the autism spectrum under 5 years of age.

Good Beginnings Early Years Autism Friendly Award

Following the publication of the Autism Education Trust standards and competency framework, the Good Beginnings team developed an award scheme to promote the development of autism-friendly practice in non-maintained preschool settings in Essex. The scheme was designed to build upon the Inclusion Development Programme (2009), and prepare settings for the principled approach of the SEND reforms (2014).


For information on interventions for preschool children with autism, and developing best practice through the Early Years Autism-friendly Setting Award, please visit the Good Beginnings web pages on the Essex Local Offer website, or email good.beginnings@essex.gov.uk

Useful Information

Education Essex is the weekly e-newsletter sent to all schools every Monday during term term. Each edition also includes the SENCO Bulletin, a weekly round-up of news, events and guidance from the Special Educational Needs and Additional Educational Needs services. 

Inclusive Communication Essex (ICE). The ICE website provides a range of advice, support and resources relating to communication for children with SEND.

Council for disabled children early years briefing on the SEND reforms

eLearning available at eescpdportal.org

Available SEND Training

Face-to face-learning - as advertised in the Early Years and Childcare programme (access now!)

Autism Education Trust (AET) Tier 1: Making sense of autism: training for early years If you are a group setting providing the Free Early Education Entitlement in Essex, you can book this free training to take place in your setting by completing this form and sending it to the dedicated mailbox: Autism.EducationTrustTraining@essex.gov.uk 
Autism Education Trust (AET) Tier 2: Good autism practice training To find out more about Good autism practice training, please search EES CPD Online
Supporting children with anxiety, including children with selective mutism, in the early years  Aimed staff in settings delivering the early years foundation stage to raise awareness of selective mutism and strategies for provision for children with the condition and those with generalised anxiety. To book visit EES CPD Online.

eLearning - as advertised in the EYCC programme

Essex Local Offer

The Essex Local Offer Website

The Essex Local Offer is a website that contains information on provisions and services available to children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and their families in Essex. The website includes information on the following: education, employment, health, social care, equipment and One Planning and EHCPs. Visit: essexlocaloffer.org.uk

Information about SEND practice in early years settings is available on the following pages of the Essex Local Offer website:

You will also find information around legislation, best practice and other services/providers in Essex.

Your Setting's SEND Offer

Every setting in Essex is invited to contribute to the Local Offer by doing the following:

  • Adding your SEND Offer, using this template
  • Adding your SEND Offer to your setting's website in a noticeable place
  • Including your setting's website address in the termly return via the FIS Portal.


 SEND Reforms Newsletter Feb 2016

Previous issues are available via the Essex Local Offer website.

One Planning

One Planning is how Essex describes a person centred approach to assessment and planning for children and young people with SEND.

One Planning is based on the principle that planning should start with the individual and must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child, child's parents or young person, their aspirations, the outcomes they wish to seek and, the support they need to achieve them (SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years, 2014, Section 9.21).

For more information please visit the One Plan Project web pages on the Essex Local Offer website. 

You can also visit our One Planning Pinterest page at: uk.pinterest.com/EssexEYSENCOs



One Planning in the Early Years eLearning.

Full details here