The early years


We want children and young people with SEND to grow up with the right support so that they have the same opportunities as other children to lead fulfilling lives, have high aspirations for the future and reach their full potential. All children and young people have the right to be:

  • healthy
  • happy
  • safe
  • loved
  • valued
  • respected

What to do if you think your child may have SEND

Some young children have difficulties in their development, and need additional help and support in order to reach their full potential. Young children develop at vastly different rates, and not one child’s development is the same. Sometimes young children experience difficulties that can be addressed quite quickly with a little help and support. Other children may experience difficulties that are wider ranging and are likely to result in them having difficulties over a longer period of time. Sometimes this is evident from birth, and sometimes it becomes more apparent as they develop.

If you are concerned about an aspect of your child’s development and would like advice, you can talk to your:

  • Health Visitor
  • GP
  • local children centre
  • childminder
  • key worker at your child's pre-school or nursery

All two year olds should be offered a two-year check by your health visitor - this is a useful time to talk through any concerns you may have

Types of support

We have lots of strategies and resources you may find useful to help support your child. In addition, there are a range of professional services who offer support to young children, including:

Most young children can have their special educational needs met at their local pre-school or nursery setting - visit our children's pages for more information. Some two year olds with SEND are eligible for funding for a pre-school or nursery place for up to 15 hours per week through the Time For Twos initiative.

How settings look after children with SEND

All early years settings are required to have a SEND local offer which explains how they meet the needs of children with SEND. If your child already has an identified need, you can let the setting know before your child starts so that the staff can begin to think about how they can best support your child. However, early years settings spend a lot of time observing and interacting children in play which helps them to find out about what each child can do and what they may need help with. 

If a need is identified, staff may agree with you to help your child by making small adaptations to the learning environment - for example, they may adapt their language level, or use visual aids to support understanding. This is easy to do, and does not require anything extra.

If these adaptations do not allow your child to make expected progress, then staff may agree with you to implement other strategies. Your child’s progress will be reviewed regularly with you (usually every six weeks) and be planned in a careful, step by step way in what is called the graduated approach.

If your child needs extra help

If your child is not making progress despite the staff providing strategies that are ‘different from’ or ‘additional to’, the early years setting may suggest giving additional adult support to your child. This can be funded with a SEND Inclusion Grant which is usually granted for twelve weeks, depending on the need.

Sometimes, if your child is known to an outside professional, for example, a specialist teacher or educational psychologist, they may suggest that the setting requests a SEND Inclusion Grant and advise the setting on how best to support your child.

Education, Health and Care Plans in early years

For some children with SEND, the support and interventions made will allow them to make progress. For others however, it may become apparent that despite the interventions in place, the rate of their progress is slow and their needs are ‘complex and long term’.  In this instance, it may be appropriate to request an Education, Health and Care Plan.



SEND Team contact information

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ


SENDIAS contact information

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ

Children with Disabilities Team

Children with Disabilities Team contact information

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ