Area Special Educational Needs Coordinators (ASENCOs) are part of the Local Authority’s Early Years Educational Advisory Service. We have substantial experience in advising and planning the support required for children aged from birth to five that have a wide range of special needs and disabilities.

We work directly with children aged 0-5 years old with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND), their families and carers and Early Years settings, such as nurseries and pre-schools. 

What we do?

All Early Years settings have a named setting Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) amongst their staff. Each setting also has an Area SENCO allocated by the local authority, who works with the setting SENCO to support children with SEND.

Area SENCOs provide advice and support on developing a SEND policy, on the early identification of SEN and planning for inclusion and early intervention within the SEND Code of Practice 2015.

We also support children with SEND to make smooth and successful transitions from their early years provision to primary school.

What is the role of 0-5 years SENCOs ?

Each setting is responsible for the ‘Assess, Plan, Do, Review’ cycle.

  • Identifying children with possible SEN (assess)
  • Bringing parents and professionals together for meetings (plan)
  • Writing a support plan and setting targets relevant to the child’s development and ensuring interventions and strategies are delivered (do/doing)
  • Monitoring progress (review)

Setting SENCOs Roles
  • As part of the child’s records, keep all paperwork including any reports and advice from external professionals and written support plans that record the actions taken as a result of advice.
  • Refer children who need additional support to appropriate services such as Speech and Language Therapy, Specialist Early Years’ Service, Specialist Inclusion Services, Educational Psychology.
  • Support parents to access referrals via their GP or Health Visitor to Community Paediatrics, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, CAMHS.
  • Access regular training to keep their knowledge of SEND & inclusion up to date.
  • Make applications for Early Years Inclusion Funding for eligible children with emerging/lower level needs.
  • Signpost parents to relevant support services.

How does the Area SENCO support children, parents and settings?
  • Support for setting SENCOs to understand their responsibilities and how to carry them out.
  • Provide advice and support for specific children, if the setting requests help to meet the child's needs, usually when there are no other services supporting the child. Written consent must be obtained from parents/carers and this may include an observation of the child in their setting.
  • Share observations, give recommendations and contribute to writing achievable targets for children
  • Assist the setting SENCOs to identify the most appropriate interventions and support for the child and if necessary, work with setting staff and children to share and model strategies.
  • Support setting SENCOs to make applications for Early Years Inclusion Funding for eligible children with emerging/lower level needs.
  • Deliver core and bespoke training to a setting or groups of settings as needed.
  • Provide information and resources e.g. SEN support plans and Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessment request to support setting SENCOs to complete SEND paperwork.
  • Signpost settings and parents to available services.
  • Share examples of good practice

Parents or setting staff can phone or e-mail the Early Years Educational Advisory Service - 01384 818086/  to arrange contact with their designated Area SENCO.

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