Birmingham City Council

Early Years

Special educational needs in very young children

Children with learning difficulties can be disadvantaged throughout their schooling unless their special educational needs are properly addressed.

  • The need for early identification and assessment of and provision for children with special educational needs is recognised as vital.

  • Special educational needs in very young children may first be noticed by child health services, which must inform parents and the local authority of any concerns

  • Early years provision, wherever it occurs, is the foundation stage of education for all children. If a child appears not to be making progress, either generally or in specific areas, this can indicate the need for different approaches to be taken

  • For children aged over 2 but under school age, the local authority will consider whether a Statutory Assessment is necessary

  • For children aged under 2, the local authority may carry out a Statutory Assessment if the parents consent, and must carry out an Assessment if parents request one.

  • Early Years education provision can be in schools, nurseries and childen's centres, as well as with pre-school playgroups, childminders and Portage schemes.

  • Early education providers will have an identified Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) who will liaise with parents, advise other teachers and maintain Individual Education Plans for children with special educational needs.

  • Some additional, or different, action may be needed to help the child learn more effectively. This may be in the form of Early Years Action, Early Years Action Plus, or with a Statement of special educational needs.