All providers must have regard to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice (2015) and the Equality Act (2010), the Code of Practice (CoP) defines a child or young person as having special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.
Early Years providers should identify individual children’s needs to help them learn and support them to progress well. The majority of children with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND) will not require specialist resources or additional staffing for e.g. 1 : 1 to be successfully included in a setting; most settings meet the additional needs of children very well. However, some children with ‘emerging or lower level’ SEN may benefit from some additional funding to further support their identified needs for a limited time period.
Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities places a requirement on all local authorities to establish an Early Years Inclusion Fund to support 3 and 4 year olds. The purpose of the fund is to “further assist providers to implement strategies to support children’s learning and development”. National Funding guidance also states “local authorities should target the fund at children with “emerging or lower level SEN.” And, that local authorities may wish to use a similar approach for two-year olds but it is not a requirement” However, in Dudley any child accessing the targeted 2yr old entitlement known as Time for Two’s will have access to Early Years Inclusion Funding if it is deemed appropriate.
Providers must demonstrate how the ‘graduated approach’ to meeting individual children’s needs has been implemented and monitored during their time in the setting prior to making an application. There is an expectation that early years providers will demonstrate the ways in which they have endeavoured to meet a child’s additional needs within the resources routinely available and this information must be provided when submitting an Early Years Inclusion Fund application.
The EYIF is for two, three and four year old children in school nurseries or private and voluntary settings including childminders, who are accessing their early education entitlement. Early Years Inclusion Funding will focus on emerging and lower level SEN i.e. where a child requires some provision in addition to or different from the setting’s usual graduated approach to help children learn. Those children with more complex SEND will receive support from the High Needs Block (HNB) funding; it is not a requirement for early year’s children to have or be in the process of having an EHCP to access the HNB funding.
Any funding received by the provider must be used to directly help individual children access the Early Years curriculum or environment.
Funding allocation will be dependent on whether the application meets the eligibility criteria, the number of requests received and the amount of Early Years Inclusion Funding available for the financial year.