Skip to main content

Early Years & ChildcareView all services

Early Years SEND Team

"Striving towards a future where true equity, equality and inclusion lead to happy and fulfilled lives for those with special educational needs and disabilities."

Superlambanana and teddy on toybox

The first 1,001 days of a child's life are often referred to as "the window of opportunity"; these first 1,001 days begin from conception, lasting until the child turns two years old. This is a crucial period of development where children (and their brains) grow quickly, setting the foundation for the child's lifelong development. You can read more about the first 1,001 days of child development with the NSPCC.

What is Early Notification?

It is important to identify any additional needs children may have as early as possible to ensure that they have the correct support to thrive. this is called Early Identification. 

It is equally important that any people, services or agencies involved in your child's life and development (including health, education, and social services) are aware of your child's needs. These processes are called Early Notification. early Identification and Notification are key to providing correct and appropriate care for children on an individual basis.  

Some children's needs are identified from birth or very early in life. Other children won't have their needs identified until later. 

Liverpool City Council is dedicated to supporting positive outcomes for children with SEND. Our Early Notification Service supports families to access the best possible start in life by providing advice, information, and guidance to families to help them take the next steps required to help their children thrive. It is important to us that we are able to offer this help as early as possible to prevent escalation. 

Staff in health (including health visitors, GPs, and nurses) have a duty to notify the Local Authority of any child under compulsory school age of any child who they believe may have SEND (in accordance with Section 3 of the Children and Family Act 2014). This ensures children can access vital support as early as possible. 

The Children and Family Act 2014 specifies that professionals across education, health and care should work together with parents/carers to meet the needs of early year’s children, particularly those 0 to 4 years old.

What is the Early Years Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund (SENIF)?

This fund is for children with lower level and emerging SEND needs who are accessing their childcare entitlement at 3 and 4 years old.  In Liverpool we have agreed to include 2 year olds in order to ensure we meet needs sooner.

This fund is co-produced across the primary schools, private voluntary and independent nurseries and childminders in order to agree what to spend the fund on to include our children in childcare.  It’s total value is £800,000.  The funds and services are agreed via consortia and commissioning is supported by officers in Liverpool City Council using a specific purchasing framework.

Our childcare providers have a direct say in what they need to include children and when to give this support.  This is additional to what to expect as ordinarily available provision for everybody in childcare settings.  If unsure, please ask your setting SENCO during your SEND co-production meetings and SEND support planning reviews.

*If you are a SENCO, please engage with your consortia chair to understand and co-produce the services in your consortia*.

How to get help

If your child is in a setting, there should be a designated Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENDCo) at their setting. You should begin by discussing your child with them to see what support is available and what they can advise. 

If your child is not in a setting, you can access support by contacting your local Children's Centre, as there are a number of Disability Link workers who you will be able to speak with. 

If you would like support placing your child in a setting, you can search for Childcare across the city using this directory. If this is difficult, you can access support with finding a childcare place, which we call Childcare Brokerage.

For peer support, please contact Liverpool Parent and Carer Forum (LivPaC) for advice and guidance.