Guidance and procedures to support providers

How to identify and support children and young people with SEN, record and review their progress.

SEN support in schools and settings

SEN Support in Oxfordshire Schools and Settings provides a clear and consistent approach across Oxfordshire. This guidance has been written for settings and schools (both maintained and academies)

The Ordinarily Available Toolkit

The Ordinarily Available Toolkit provides guidance on the provision that mainstream schools need to make for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities in Oxfordshire.

Inclusive support series

The inclusive support series are strengths-based tools to identify reasonable adjustments in learning settings. They can be used to facilitate conversations with class teachers about a specific pupil(s) and to develop inclusive practice. Please see the first in the series below

The SENDCO Helpdesk

The team of Specialist SENDCos and Specialist Early Years advisors are on hand to provide working SENDCos with strategies, signposting, early intervention guidance and universal support for primary age/stage and early years children. The team can support with concerns at an individual or whole school/setting level, either by email, phone or TEAMS Meeting.

Early Intervention and Prevention Strategy Group

Transition Support Documents 

The transition support documents aim to provide guidance and tools to promote a successful primary to secondary transition for all learners in Oxfordshire, including vulnerable learners that may need an enhanced transition.

Early years - children in setting and foundation stage nurseries in schools

What to do when you think a child may have additional needs

EY SEN guidance (pdf format, 98Kb) gives an overview of what you should already have in place and what to do next.

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 recommends a graduated approach to meeting the needs of children with SEND, ‘All settings should adopt a graduated approach with four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review’ 5.38

Please see flow chart (pdf format, 179Kb) for further guidance on the actions required to effectively implement this approach.

Use the Oxfordshire Guidance for Special Educational Needs (SEN) Support (docx format, 359 KB) to look in detail at the child’s needs and plan how to meet them. It sets out a clear approach to identifying and supporting needs and how parents should be involved. Use the EYSEN toolkit for more ideas for activities, strategies and resources.

Information and examples/templates for planning and reviewing support

Use these templates/examples to help you to gather and record information and work with parents to plan outcomes and review progress:

Views and wishes of the child

It’s important to include the views and wishes of the child. This information sheet and recording template will help:

Other plans and records

Some families may use other plans and records depending on their needs and the complexity of support they require.

Getting help from the EY SEN Advisory Team

There is more information about how the Early Years SEN Advisory Team and other support services work with settings. You can ask for help using Oxfordshire’s Single Point of Request for Involvement (SPORFI):

If there are concerns about a child’s vision or hearing the first port of call is usually the child’s GP (or optician for a visual difficulty). He or she will decide whether further specialist advice is needed.

Accessing Additional Resources (EY SEND funding)

For some children additional resources may be available through the local authority. Setting staff/nursery class teachers can indicate these children through their headcount task/census data. Before applying for this funding, refer to the Early Education Funding page and the information found in the related content section on that page.

If evidence shows that the child needs are higher/more complex than Inclusion Funding can support, then an application for Additional Funding (docx format, 89Kb)  can be considered. Please read the guidance before completing the application - EY RAF guidance notes (pdf format, 407Kb) to help. This funding cannot be backdated.

The additional funding is also available for children who are in their setting on the 2 year entitlement.

If agreed this additional funding will be time limited. In some situations it may be necessary to request a continuation of this extra support. This is done by completing an application for additional funding renewal form (docx format, 74Kb). It is the responsibility of the setting to be aware of when funding ceases and put in place processes in a timely way to ensure this continues if appropriate.

If the request involves any application for an increase in the agreed level of funding a new application for additional funding will need to be submitted.


  • Training to support children with SEND for the Early Years and Childcare workforce can be accessed via Education Services.

Disability Access Funding (DAF)

Providers offering 3 and 4 year old children early education funding can claim Disability Access Funding (DAF) to support disabled children to access the free entitlement.

3 and 4 year olds will be eligible for the DAF if they meet the following criteria:

  • the child is in receipt of child Disability Living Allowance
  • the child receives free early education

Please note that four-year olds in primary school reception classes are not eligible for DAF funding.

This funding, a non-transferable lump sum payment of £828 per year, is designed to help providers make reasonable adjustments to support the inclusion of a disabled child. It is not awarded to provide ongoing additional support – if this is needed then the LA is expected to provide that through one of the other funding streams mentioned on this page.

For further information and how to claim this funding.

Additional funding Early Years settings and schools

Guidance around additional funding (SEN Support) for settings and schools and forms to use can be found here

Education, health and care (EHC) needs assessments and plans

Most children and young people have their needs met in a mainstream setting through SEN support.

A very small number of children will need the local authority to set out the support that they should receive to achieve the best outcomes. 

This is usually where their needs are complex and severe and require the co-ordinated support of a range of services.

Where children have this level of need, the Local Authority will consider a multi-agency needs assessment.

Where this is agreed a statutory assessment will take place and this may result in a EHC Plan being written for the child detailing their needs, outcomes they are working towards and support agreed.

If you think that a child in your setting may need an EHC needs assessment it’s a good idea to talk to the Early Years SEN team or the specialist advisory teacher supporting the child.

More information about EHC plans can be found in chapter nine of the SEND Code of Practice (2015) and the Local Offer.

For examples of completed information that supports an Education and Health Care Needs Assessment see the Resources section in the All Children with SEN page on the Early Years SEN Toolkit

Requesting an EHC needs assessment

A request for assessment is usually made by the setting that the child attends, often with the support of a professional. It can also be made by a parent in which case the setting will be asked to provide the information needed for the assessment.

All applications for an EHC needs assessment must now be made electronically; access this through the Children’s Portal using the link below

Additional context for an EHC request can be found at:

It’s important to make sure that you include all of the information needed so do ask for help if you’re not sure.

Supporting documents for an EHC needs assessment

'All about me' profiles

As part of the EHC needs assessment it is crucial to gain the voice of the child and family, their wishes and aspirations.

This can be helped by asking the child’s parent to complete an ‘All about me’ on behalf of the child and the family.

It can be helpful to think about how the child is at home and in the setting.

Some parents may find this difficult and someone who knows the child well in the setting, such as their key person could offer to help the family with this. 

All About Me’ person-centred planning guidance

Planning for the best possible outcomes

Once a decision has been taken by the local authority over whether to proceed with an EHC needs assessment, an outcome planning meeting will be held.

This meeting will involve the family and all those who work closely with the child and may be held at the setting. It is important that setting staff contribute at the meeting.

Reviewing an EHC plan

All children with SEN should receive ongoing, formative assessment as an integral part of the learning and development process.  

Settings will put in place a structured review plan to capture the ongoing and changing needs of the child and allow for these in continued planning. There will be regular meetings with parents at least three times a year. One of these review meetings will be the annual review meeting.

The annual review of an EHC plan looks at the outcomes that were decided previously and the provision set out in the plan. 

The child and family are at the centre of this process. Everyone at the meeting will talk about the progress made and agree new targets for the coming year.  Any changes to the plan are discussed, including whether an EHC plan is still needed.

The first annual review must be held within 12 months of the date when the EHC plan was issued and after that within 12 months of the previous review. There is guidance and paperwork to help you manage the annual review process.

CDC guidance on annual reviews

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) have developed useful guidance:on the annual review process