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Key information for Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) in early years settings

This page provides key information and relevant links for SENCOs working in Kent early years settings.

Key legislation for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)
SEND Information Hub
  • The SEND Information Hub offers key information for families about support, services and opportunities available in Kent.
Equality and Inclusion Team (E&I)
  • The E&I Team provide a programme of advice, support and training to promote and enable equal and inclusive provision for every child to support positive outcomes.
  • Use the electronic request form to access Kent funded (free) inclusion support from E&I Team.
Best Practice Guidance (BPG) for the Early Years 
  • This document is for all early years providers and practitioners working with young children.
  • It provides an overview of the underpinning knowledge and understanding required to meet the needs of all children at universal, targeted and personalised levels.
  • The document and associated Audit Tools are embedded in Kent's SEND processes.
SEND Reflection Tool (SRT)
  • The SRT is designed to support settings to evaluate different aspects of their practice in regards to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
  • The SRT is fully funded, so free to all Kent settings.
  • Use the electronic request form to request a copy.
  • The E&I Team provide support through Group Reflective Conversations (bookable via
Additional funding available for early years settings
  • Disability Access Fund (DAF) is additional funding for providers so they can support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and taking up their early education funding entitlement.
  • In Kent, DAF is available to eligible children aged two, three and four years old.
  • Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is additional funding for providers to support children. Children are eligible for this funding where families are accessing certain benefits or credits, and for children who are looked after or previously looked after by the local authority.
  • EYPP is available to eligible children aged three or four and accessing their early education 15 hours entitlement.
One Stop Document
  • This E&I Team document is useful when thinking about which service a child or family might need.
  • It details the range of professionals available to suit different circumstances and clearly shows you which service provides that support.
  • You may find you have to make referrals to a combination of services.
  • There are some regional variations in the services available. Contact your district E&I Adviser for more details or email to contact the E&I Team.
Specialist Teaching and Learning Service (STLS)
  • STLS works with EY settings to support individual children identified with special educational needs and disabilities at the targeted and personalised level of intervention.
  • STLS include Specialist Teachers and Outreach services from Special Schools.
  • All referrals for advice and Specialist Teacher involvement for pre-school settings come through the EY LIFT process.
Early Years Local Inclusion Forum Team (EY LIFT)
  • EY LIFT referral form available on Local Inclusion Forum Teams page
  • The purpose of the meeting is to discuss issues around inclusion to ensure that settings are meeting the needs of all children.
  • Please attend EY LIFT even when you do not have a child to discuss as this enables setting to setting support and ensures sharing of good practice between practitioners.
  • Each setting has been allocated to a LIFT group which meets termly.
  • Contact your Specialist Teaching and Learning Service (STLS) District LIFT administrator for any queries.
  • Parent guide available.
STLS Sensory Service
  • Kent's STLS Sensory Service supports children and young people with hearing impairments, vision impairments or multi-sensory impairments (HI, VI & MSI).
  • Referrals for this service do not go through EY LIFT process.
  • The STLS Sensory Service have an open referrals system. Children and young people are usually referred on diagnosis by health professionals, including those from the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme. Parents, preschools, schools and colleges can refer children and young people with diagnosed hearing impairment, vision impairment or deafblindness.
SEN Inclusion Fund (SENIF)
  • SENIF is a statutory requirement made available by KCC to enable all PVI settings supporting pre-school children with special educational needs to secure better outcomes.
  • SENIF Practitioners and Monitoring and Support Officers support, monitor and evaluate the provision for individual children in receipt of SENIF funding.
  • For more information and the necessary paperwork including Early Years Personalised Plan see link above.
  • Parent guide available.
  • This is an educational service for pre-school children with severe and complex needs and their families.
  • It is a bespoke service offering Pre-school Learning Groups and Home Learning sessions depending on the needs of the child.
  • For information about the service and how to make a referral see link above.
  • Information is also available on the Portage website.
Education, Health and Care plans (EHCP)
  • An EHCP is designed to support children with severe and complex needs. An EHCP draws together professionals from education, health and social care to meet the specific needs of a child.
  • For guidance on requesting an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment, see link above.

Other useful pages on Kelsi
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Equality and Inclusion Resources

Resources for SENCO, AENCO, Inclusion Lead and Childminder.

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) in the Early Years

For information about SEND Code of Practice, Statutory Framework, Equality Act 2010, Local Offer and details of training available to support SEND.

Return to Equality and Inclusion landing page