How will the new 0-25 SEND Code of Practice change childcare?


The 0-25 SEND Code of Practice comes into force the autumn (SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities), in response to reforms in the Children and Families Act 2014.  The 0-25 SEND Code of Practice replaces the previous SEN Code of Practice, as it was felt that the old system was not working for all families.
As a result, the way in which early years settings will identify and meet the needs of children with SEND has changed.  Practitioners should now give young children the best start by adopting a graduated approach to support, working within a cycle of four stages of action:
1. Assess
When identifying a child as needing SEN support, the early years practitioner, working with the setting SENCO and the child’s parents, will have carried out an analysis of the child’s needs. This assessment should be reviewed regularly to ensure that the support a child is given is matched to their needs. Where there is little or no improvement in the child’s progress, more specialist assessment may be called for from specialist teachers or from health, social services, or other agencies beyond the setting.  The SENCO should contact these professionals, with the parents’ agreement. (A SENCO is a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator – every setting will have nominated a member of staff for this role).
2. Plan
Where it is decided to provide SEN support, the practitioner and SENCO should agree, in consultation with parents, the outcomes they are seeking for the child, the interventions and support to be put in place, the expected impact on progress, development or behaviour, and a clear date for review. The support and intervention provided should be selected to meet the outcomes identified for the child.
3. Do
The early years practitioner, usually the child’s key person, remains responsible for working with the child on a daily basis. With support from the SENCO, they should oversee the implementation of the interventions agreed as part of SEN support.
4. Review
The effectiveness of the support and its impact on the child’s progress should be reviewed in line with the agreed date. The impact and quality of the support should be evaluated by the practitioner and the SENCO, working with the child’s parents and taking into account the child’s views. They should agree any changes to the outcomes and support for the child in light of the child’s progress and development. Parents should have clear information about the impact of the support provided and be involved in planning next steps.  The cycle will then begin again.
(Graduated support replaces Early Years Action and Early Years Action Plus, which were provision of the old SEN Code).
You can download the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice here.

Chapter 5 specifically relates to the early years.  You may also find it helpful to read the Early Years Guide to the 0-25 SEND Code of Practice.  It gives specific advice for early years providers that are funded by the local authority, but also serves as an accessible guide to the Code in general.  You can download the Guide here.
I’ll be back soon with ideas for themed interest tables.