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Support for My Child with SEND in a PVI Nursery Setting

If your child is aged 2, 3 or 4 years, attends a Private, Voluntary or Independent ( PVI ) nursery setting, has a funded nursery place and has Special Educational Needs or Disabilities ( SEND ), the nursery setting can access additional support for your child from the Early Years Consortia.


The purpose of the Early Years Consortia is to support and enable the inclusion of ALL FUNDED 2, 3 and 4 year old children within their nursery or childcare setting. Children who are eligible for a ‘funded’ nursery place are able to attend their childcare setting for the following number of hours as funded by the Local Authority:


  • 2 year old offer of 15 hours
  • 3 & 4 year old offer of up to 30 hours


Nursery settings can use support from the Early Years Consortia to enable children to access their funded hours only. The Consortia cannot offer settings any financial support for children during any additional hours over and above their funded nursery hours.


Consortia support is targeted at children with Lower Level or Emerging (LLE) Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). Settings are encouraged to identify children with SEND as soon as possible to ensure that any necessary intervention is given in a timely manner. 


* Please note - Nurseries that are not described as PVI nurseries include Nursery Schools such as Everton Nursery School and East Prescot Road Nursery or nurseries that are physically attached to schools such as New Park School Nursery or Childwall Valley Primary School Nursery. These settings can access support for children in their care from the Schools Consortia. You should talk to the nursery/school Special Educational Needs Coordinator ( SENCO ) about the support that is available for your child from the Schools Consortia.

Lambanana jumping over a toybox

St Gregory's Catholic Primary School, Nursery Class

What is the Early Years Consortia?

The Early Years Consortia provides PVI nursery staff members with the opportunity to access support and guidance when they have concerns about a child’s learning or development. Staff members (usually the nursery SENCO and/ or nursery Manager) are encouraged to attend monthly Consortia meetings to discuss their concerns with the other staff members in the group. A plan of action is then developed.


The nursery SENCO or your child’s Key-Person must discuss your child’s needs with you before approaching Consortia for support. You should be asked by the SENCO or Key Person to give signed permission for your child to be discussed at a Consortia meeting.


There are currently 6 different Consortia across the Liverpool area. A nursery’s location determines which Consortia they are in. The map below shows which areas of Liverpool are in which of the 6 Consortia:

The monthly Consortia meetings are chaired by a local childcare provider and are supported by a member of the SEND Early Years Development Team from the Local Authority. A SEND Link Worker from the local Children’s Centre and a Health Visitor are also present at every meeting. One or two representatives from every setting in the Consortia are also encouraged to attend every meeting.

Nursery staff are encouraged to access support from the Consortia at the earliest opportunity to ensure that any support necessary for the child is in place as soon as possible. Staff members are encouraged to do this as part of the ‘Graduated Approach’ identified within the SEND Code of Practice 2015.

What is the Early Years Consortia Graduated Approach?

Under the SEND Code of Practice 2015, all educational settings are required to use their best endeavours to meet the needs of children and young people identified as having Special Educational Needs and Disabilities as part of the ‘Graduated Approach’

This means that settings should identify needs early. They should then start by offering support at the lowest level (stage 1) so as to meet the child’s needs before they escalate. Settings may then need to increase the level of support given to the child over time as part of the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ cycle.

Any support given should be based on the individual needs of the child; this means that not all children will require support in stages 2-4. Instead, only some children will require this support and only a few will require support from stage 4.

What support can a PVI setting access for my child from the Early Years Consortia?

Decisions about whether to allocate Consortia funding are made through discussions at Consortia meetings.  Settings are required to complete an Early Years Consortia funding application form and present it at a Consortia meeting in order to access any Consortia funding. The funding can be used by settings for the following:



  • SEND specific training courses for staff within the setting. These are available to individual staff members or the whole staff team. The purpose of such training is to upskill staff so that they are better equipped to meet the needs of children with SEND.


  • SEND specific resources such as a Peanut Ball or Sensory Needs Support Kit can be funded when required to meet the needs of an individual child. Resources like this will typically be recommended by an external agency such as SENISS or Speech and Language Therapy.


  • Short-Term Targeted Intervention. Funding for this will be used by settings to enable them to pay an existing staff member to work additional hours in order to provide some individual support to a child. This support is available for up to 5 hours per week for two half terms. Settings are required to seek advice from an external agency before applying for this support. This is because this support should be used to enable settings to deliver any recommendations given by external agencies.


Children with more complex needs including those who have an Education, Health and Care Plan ( EHCP ), may require a greater level of support. They may also require equipment that has been recommended by an Occupational Therapist or a Physiotherapist. Funding for this would come from the High Needs Block of the Dedicated School Grant (DSG). Staff members are required to complete a High Needs funding application and present it to Consortia along with appropriate evidence from external agencies in order to access this funding.

How is the Early Years Consortia funded and which children are eligible to access support?

The Early Years Consortia is funded by the Lower Level or Emerging Special Educational Needs (LLE SEN) Fund also known as the SEN Inclusion Fund. All local authorities are required to have an SEN Inclusion Fund for all three and four year olds with lower level or emerging Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) who are accessing their funded nursery place. Liverpool has also opted to use this funding to support children aged 2 years.


Children with more complex needs and those in receipt of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) are eligible to receive ‘High Needs’ funding. This is taken from a different funding stream known as the High Needs Block of the Dedicated School Grant (DSG). PVI nurseries can request this support through the Early Years Consortia.


The amount of LLE SEN Funding given to the Early Years Consortia was calculated using the formula below. Decisions around how to allocate the funding were made following an online consultation with all nursery settings and parents that took place between December 2018 and January 2019.

PVI settings can request LLE SEN funding for children who meet the following criteria:


  • The child is aged 2, 3 or 4 years.
  • The child is accessing any number of hours of their free Nursery Education Funding entitlement.
  • The child has lower level or emerging SEND.
  • The child is performing an age band below national expected outcomes as recognised within the ‘Early Years Outcomes’ document used within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
  • The child’s statutory 2 year check identified some developmental delay.


Further Information

If you require any further information about the support available to support your child within their setting or further information around Early Years Consortia funding, please speak to the SENCO in your child’s nursery.