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Early Years Providers

Meeting Individual Children’s Needs in the Early Years

Early Years providers in Cornwall use the Graduated Response in Early Years Foundation Stage document to meet the individual needs of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). This page is an introduction to the continuum of support available within the county.

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The Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes. All providers must follow the SEND Code of Practice and meet the needs of all children, making reference to the Graduated Response in Early Years Foundation Stage document. 

The most recent Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (September 2014) can be found on the website

The Continuum of Early Years Provision in Cornwall Council

Some 2 year olds are entitled to an Early Years Entitlement of 15 hours a week in a setting rated as good or outstanding by OFSTED. This depends on the family’s financial circumstances or if a child has a disability. You can check eligibility on the Care and Support in Cornwall website.

All 3 and 4 year olds have an Early Years Entitlement of 15 hours a week from the term after their 3rd birthday and can access a range of Early Years settings, eg maintained nurseries which are nursery classes in schools (there are also two nursery schools in Cornwall), private day nurseries, private and voluntary pre-schools and childminders. Some families with 3 and 4 year old children are entitled to 30 hours free childcare. You can check your eligibility on the Care and Support in Cornwall website.

Any registered early years setting is required by law:

  • to deliver the EYFS
  • to accept children with SEN
  • is Ofsted assured
  • is able to access support from Local Authority services

Different settings will offer different opening hours, different term times and may have a particular ethos which will influence how they deliver the EYFS. It is therefore important that parents visit settings so they can make an informed decision about what is right for their child. 

Early Years Inclusion Service (EYIS)

The EYIS is a multi-disciplinary team that delivers SEN services to all Early Years providers as part of a continuum of Local Authority services. The EYIS works with children aged 0 to 5 with SEND and other vulnerable children that need support to access their early years education entitlement.

The service includes the following staff; Senior Locality Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos), Early Years Educational Psychologists, Early Years Autism and social communication workers, Early Years Inclusion Workers. 

Further information about making a referral and who to contact can be found on the Early Years Inclusion Service (EYIS) web page.

The Portage Service

The Portage Service provides a home visiting service for children aged from 6 months up to the point at which they transition to an Early Years Setting.  Portage workers are Early Years practitioners who have a good knowledge of child development, and have special needs experience. We are part of Cornwall Council’s Disabled Children and Therapy Service. We provide support and guidance to enable parents to achieve the best outcomes for their child.

Further information and how to make a referral can be found on the Portage Service web page.

Early Support

This is an approach for children aged 0-19 years with a disability or long term additional need. It aims to:

  • Place the child and family priorities as central to planning next steps.
  • Support the family with advice
  • Define roles and responsibilities of the professionals involved.
  • Limit duplication of services

The multi-agency Team Around the Child (TAC) works together to meet the child and family’s needs. The family is supported by their chosen Lead Professional.

To make a referral to the Early Support Team please visit the Early Support page.

Information about the national Early Support programme and associated resources for parents/carers and practitioners can be found on the Council for Disabled Children website

For children with a higher level of need

Some children with more complex needs may benefit from accessing a higher level of specialist support as part of their 15 hours Early Years entitlement. This support is accessed in discussion with the Early Years Inclusion service and is delivered through Child Development centres.

Child Development Centres

There are currently four Child Development Centres (CDCs) in Cornwall based in Liskeard, St Columb Major, Truro and Penzance. There is also a CDC teacher that supports children in the Launceston and Bude areas. Support is offered in periods of targeted intervention, from CDC staff, either in the child's local setting or from a period of support at one of the CDC bases. 

Requests for CDC involvement will be through the Early Years Inclusion Service, Education or Health professionals. Places are allocated by a central, multi-agency panel. 

For pre-school children CDCs offer:

  • Specialist short term nursery provision (2-3 terms) either by the child attending ( in reach placement), or through support to another setting (outreach placement) or a combination of these.
  • Multi agency assessment
  • Minimum ratios of 1:3 with a qualified teacher and a nursery nurse
  • Supported transition to local early years settings or to school depending on the child’s age
  • Specialist teacher and Speech and Language Therapist intervention
  • Placement at a centre for 2 or 3 sessions per week during term time, preferably alongside their local mainstream setting in an in reach placement  or support at their local Early Years Setting by the CDC staff in an outreach placement

This place is not additional to the 15 hours of Early Funding entitlement, but counted as part of it.

Special School Provision

Children accessing a special school Foundation Stage class will have long term complex needs. A child can be considered for a place from 3 years once they have an Education, Health and Care plan. Nancealverne (Penzance), Curnow (Redruth) and Doubletrees (nr St Austell) are funded through the Local Authority.

To find out more information about these schools please see the Special Partnership Trust website.

Early Years Pupil Premium

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is additional funding for early years settings to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3 and 4 year olds. This funding may be used in a number of ways, for example, to provide new resources, staff training, additional support and new play or learning experiences to help improve outcomes.

Disablility Access Fund (DAF)

Three and four year old children who are in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and are receiving the free nursery funding entitlement are eligible for the Disability Access Fund (DAF) payment. DAF is paid to the child’s early years setting as a fixed annual rate of £615 per eligible child. Further information can be found on the Disability Access Fund page on the Care and Support in Cornwall website. 

Early Years Inclusion Grant

If a high level of additional support is required to ensure the inclusion of a child and they don’t already have an EHC plan, the setting can apply for additional funding through the Early Years Inclusion Grant. Further details can be found in the Early Years Quality Improvement Support Programme web page on the Care and Support in Cornwall website.

There are a wide range of resources available to support practitioners working with children in the Early Years with SEN and disabilities. Below are a few of the key ones, but is not an exhaustive list.

  • Foundation Years – this website has all the latest news and information related to Early Years Education.
  • SEND Guide for early years settings – this is a government publication that is a guide for early years settings on the support system for children and young people with special educational needs and disability.
  • Disabled Children and the Equality Act 2010 – this is a publication produced by the Council for Disabled Children that sets out the statutory duties of Early Years settings in relation to Equality Act 2010.
  • The Early Years SEN Toolkit produced by Philippa Stobbs the Council for Disabled Children, supports early years providers in implementing the SEN and disability reforms.