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Early Years

Children grow and develop far greater between the ages of 0-5 than in any other time in their lives.  This period of growth can for some children highlight challenges, whether this is around a child’s rate of development, their behaviour or a specific disability.

It is critical that we identify children’s additional needs at the earliest opportunity.  Support and early intervention is fundamental in ensuring children with additional needs/disability are able to make good progress, enjoy learning and ultimately prepare them for adult life.

There is a statutory expectation (EYFS requirements, Children and Families Act 2014 and Equalities Act 2010) for all Early Years Providers to support children with SEND, if you would like further advice or support to achieve this please contact your Early Years Locality Lead who will be happy to talk to you about support available.

Early Years Service

Local Offer to Early Years Providers

Gloucestershire County Council is committed to ensuring every child has access to high quality education suited to their needs, which equips them with the skills and attributes needed to make a positive contribution to their community and succeed in life.  

The Early Years Service offers a range of support, advice and interventions to all Early Years Providers which enables children with Special Educational Needs or Disability to enjoy learning make progress and access a local provision.  Support is offered through a Tiered Level of Intervention and will be dependent on a completed ‘Request for support’ referral form.

Early Years Service - Setting support request

The Universal Offer

This is the information and support provided to all Early Years Providers without the need for a referral. This includes training opportunities, regular locality emails, EY Forum representatives, a dedicate website and The Early Years Intervention Programme which includes the offer of 2 yearly cycle visits by the Locality Quality and Inclusion Lead, more intensive support is offered to providers with a less than good Ofsted rating. We also have a dedicated funding and business team.


Tier 1 Additional Provider Support  

This is the support offered to Early Years Providers who are seeking specific advice and guidance within their setting. . Providers will be expected to complete the *Ordinarily Available Provision (OAP)audit and attach this to the 'request for support form'

Early Years Service - Setting support request

An Early Years Lead Adviser will work with the provider to develop a plan to meet identified needs; this may include offering training, advice around routine, environment or adapting practice.  This plan will be reviewed within an agreed period.  If during this period it is evident the provider is struggling to support an individual child, parental consent will be sought to enable specific advice*OAP is term used within the SEND CoP regarding expected provision for children with SEND, this is also the expectation with the EYFS statutory requirements and GCC


Tier 2 Individual Emerging Needs  

Interventions offered at Tier 2 focus on the individual child and will enable the Early Years Provider to confidently support identified/referred children with emerging needs.  An Early Years Adviser will explore evidence-based practice with the setting with an aim to provide support in developing skills and knowledge of practitioners with regards to SEND.  In some instances, further support and resources may be required and further advice may be sought from an advisory teacher (for children in pre-school)


Tier 3 Individual High Needs Support  

Tier 3 facilitates a Multi-Agency Discussion with the provider or Lead Practitioner where a child's needs cannot be met through Ordinarily Available Provision, reasonable adjustments and Tier 2 support.  Multi Agency discussions within this meeting will explore what is currently in place and what further support is need to enable the child to to be safe and happy, to enjoy learning and make progress now and at their next educational transition


Early Years Team General Enquiries

01452 425356


Gloucester & Forest Locality

01452 425319


Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Locality

01452 427332


Stroud and Cotswold Locality

01452 425332


Early Years Business Support  

01452 427810


Early Years Finance

01452 328683

SEND Funding for Early Years

Inclusion Funding

Gloucestershire County Council provides Inclusion Funding to Early Years settings to help them to safely include and support individual children with emerging Special Education Needs and Disabilities to achieve positive outcomes. The Inclusion funding is a contribution to the resources needed to support the child and is not expected to cover all costs in all cases.

Children aged 2, 3 and 4 years old may be eligible if they receive free Early Years Education (Nursery Education Grant) and have identified needs highlighted in their My Assessment and My Plan or My Plan+. The setting the child attends must have evidenced what support they have received from other professionals, adjustments they have made, why additional resources are required and what outcomes the additional resource aims to achieve.

Further information regarding Inclusion Funding, including what the funding can be used for and how to access it, can be found online HERE.

Disability Access Fund

The Disability Access Fund was introduced in April 2017 to ‘enable Early Year’s Providers to anticipate and make reasonable adjustments to their provision and increase the capacity to support disabled children and children with special educational needs’. 

3 and 4 year old children are eligible if they receive free Early Years Education and if they are in receipt of Disability Living allowance. DAF provides the Early Years Setting an additional annual amount of £615 per child for those who are eligible.

This funding is not transferable to other settings e.g. If the child leaves before the end of the financial year this money can’t be moved over to a new setting and if the child attends more than one setting it is up to the parent to decide where this funding should go – it cannot be split between both settings.

Further information regarding the Disability Access Fund can be found HERE.

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