All children are individual and will develop at different rates. However, to get a general idea milestones are used to help track your child’s development and to give an indication as to whether they are progressing at a typical rate.

If you are worried about your child's development at any age or stage before they start their education journey, your GP or Health Visitor will be best placed to offer you advice and support. If your child is in a setting, whether that be at a Childminders, Private Day Nursery or a school Nursery and you have concerns then speak to your child’s keyworker or the setting SENCO.

Before the age of three, your child will have a developmental review with their Health Visitor between 9 and 12 months and between 2 and 2.5 years of age. Your health visitor will send you a questionnaire, known as the "Ages and Stages Questionnaire" or ASQ-3, to fill in before your child's 9 to 12-month and 2-year development reviews.  If your child is in a setting by the time they have their 2 year development review it is good practice to involve their keyworker so that you can all do the review together.

The review covers:

  • General development, including movement, speech, social skills and behaviour, and hearing and vision
  • Growth, healthy eating and keeping active
  • Managing behaviour and encouraging good sleeping habits
  • Tooth brushing and going to the dentist
  • Keeping your child safe
  • Vaccinations

Following the review, if there are any concerns about your child’s development, the Health Visitor may suggest making a referral to one or more of the following:-

Speech and Language therapy


Specialist Early Years Service, part of the Integrated Early Years Service

Community Paediatrician 

What Happens next?

At Specialist Early Years Service we accept referrals from a range of professionals including health visitors, paediatricians, GPs, childminders, private day nurseries and school nurseries. Referrals go onto our waiting list. We ask the referrer to provide us with as much information about your child and their needs as possible. They will be allocated to an outreach teacher once they have space on their caseload. We have a parent support group for parents of children on our waiting list. Our team of outreach teachers work across different townships in Dudley borough. Teachers are allocated children who are either at a setting in the township that teacher covers, or their home address is in the township.

Outreach teachers will contact you and discuss the initial referral and whether it is still appropriate. They will offer advice and support to both you and the setting your child attends. If your child is on our waiting list and not yet in a setting, we can support with arranging Time for 2’s. Outreach teachers may organise visits to see you and your child at home and in their setting to get to know your child and their needs. They will then advise what can be put into place to support your child and ensure their educational needs are being met.

The Department for Education have published a document that all early years practitioners are able to access, Development Matters (2021) which refers to observation checkpoints for children at various ages and stages of their development. These are focussed on their communication and language development, personal, social and emotional development and their physical development. This may form the starting point of the Outreach teacher’s conversations with you as parents and practitioners in the setting. 

What support can I expect from my child’s setting?

Settings must follow a 'graduated approach', this means assessing each child as an individual and planning the support they need to help them learn. The setting will discuss your first concerns and will keep track of them. If further support is needed this will be done by creating an SEN Support Plan and the information must be reviewed and revised to understand how your child learns and how they can be supported to make good progress. Both you and your child must be involved in this approach.

SEN support plans

SEN support plans should have 4 stages: assessment, plan, do and review. Plans can run in a cycle and your child might need another assessment after a review.


Evaluating your child’s needs and the support required. Setting staff and other professionals will work with you and your child to look at the support they need.


You and your child agree with the setting what support they will do.


The setting will support your child, as agreed in the plan.


The setting will review how your child is progressing. You and your child can say how things are going and if your child is getting the support they need.

You must be involved throughout the SEN process and kept up to date. Outreach teachers will visit your child on a half termly basis to do a monitoring visit. 

Your child’s rights to SEN support

Section 20 of the Children and Families Act 2014 says a child has SEN if:

“They have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her”.

Special educational provision is anything that “educates or trains” your child. This could be anything from individual support to speech and language therapy.

By law, every state school and nursery must provide SEN support. But each local authority and state-funded school will have their own process. This includes academies and free schools. Private schools may manage SEN in a different way. They may not offer SEN support.

Reasonable adjustments

The Equality Act 2010 says that schools should not treat disabled students unfavourably. This means that they are not allowed to:

  • Refuse to admit a child because of their impairment or condition
  • Discriminate against them by not meeting their needs
  • Allow harassment by teachers or students related to their condition
  • Schools must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so that your child can study. There is no set definition for ‘reasonable’ adjustments. It depends on:
  • What your child needs and the difference it will make
  • Cost
  • Practicality and effectiveness
  • If the adjustment will affect other pupils’ learning
  • Reasonable adjustments are often included as part of SEN support.

Asking for reasonable adjustments.

For more information on reasonable adjustments click here.

Specialist Provision for Pre-School Children

In Dudley we have three specialist provisions for children with complex needs who are in their pre-school year:-

  • Leapfrog
  • Brockmoor Specialist Nursery
  • The Phoenix Centre Specialist Pre-School

Your SEYS teacher will discuss these settings with you if they feel that your child may be appropriate for a place. If you agree to this your SEYS teacher will put your child’s name forward for the setting you feel most appropriate. The head of service will then meet with the staff in charge of the settings and shortlist children based on their need. Once children have been shortlisted, parents and children are encouraged to visit the specialist settings before a final decision is made. If your child gets a place at a specialist provision, then your SEYS teacher will handover your child to the staff at the specialist setting. if your child doesn’t get a space then your child will continue to be supported in their current setting by their SEYS teacher.

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