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Early Years SEND Support

Early Years Inclusion Fund


Why does Telford and Wrekin have an Early Years Inclusion Fund?

Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities places a requirement on local authorities to establish an Early Years SEN Inclusion Fund to support 3 and 4 year olds with emerging SEND. The purpose of the fund is to further assist providers to implement strategies to support children’s learning and development.

By law, all providers must have arrangements in place to support children with SEN and/or disabilities (SEND). These arrangements should include a clear approach to identifying and responding to SEND. Where a setting identifies a child with SEND they must work in partnership with parents and carers to implement any support that the child needs. Most children with additional or special educational needs and/or disabilities will not require special resources or enhanced staffing to be successfully integrated into settings; indeed most settings meet the additional needs of their children very well. However, some children with more complex needs may benefit from enhanced provision or additional resources for a period of time.

What is the Early Years Inclusion Fund Panel?

The Early Years Inclusion Funding Panel is a meeting of Local Authority and Health Professionals including Advisory Teachers, Speech and Language Therapist and Portage Home Visitor who have expertise in special educational needs within the Early Years. It has been developed for all Early Years Settings in Telford and Wrekin in order for them to access additional funding to support children who attend their settings with special educational needs.

Settings must work with parent/carers, children and young people in a person centred way, including parents in the application and review process.

Which children can be discussed at the Early Years Inclusion Fund Panel?

  • Children of preschool age attending private, voluntary & maintained early years settings including childminders.
  • Children in the toddler phase of nursery who access the Talking Twos Childcare offer.
  • Where funding is being requested for a child they must attend a setting in Telford and Wrekin.
  • The child will have significant barriers to learning that require support above what is already allocated through the setting’s universal offer.
  • Funding is allocated to the individual child, if the pupil moves setting the funding is transferred if appropriate.
  • If a child has an Education, Health and Care plan in place then they cannot be discussed at the panel.

What happens at the Panel?

Once an application has been accepted the request will be taken to the next available panel.  Panels are run 6 times a year, usually two weeks before a school holiday. The information received is considered and a decision is made as to whether funding is agreed. The members of forum understand that all information shared about your child is to be kept confidential. Where members feel there is a conflict of interest, for example they are aware of the child outside of work, then they will leave the panel while the child is being discussed.

Where funding is not agreed the setting will be given some next steps to consider. If may be that the setting are asked to continue to follow recommendations from an advisory teacher or the portage home visitor. When the setting are making an application for the EY Inclusion Fund they must talk to you so you know what they are asking for.

What support can funding be used for?

  • Requests need a clear rationale and based on specific outcomes.
  • This may include, but not limited to, support services, therapy, positive play and or EY practitioners to provide specific learning programmes.
  • Support must be appropriate for the child to meet the individual child’s identified needs.
  • Settings must record the provision they put in place using an EY Inclusion Fund Provision Plan (EYIFPP).

How are parents/carers, children and young people involved?

Parents and carers should be involved in the whole process. Settings should talk to you about the support already in place and what they are proposing when requesting support from the Inclusion Funding Panel.

Settings will consult with parents and carers on the proposed support requested. You should contribute to and have a copy of the EY Inclusion Fund Provision Plan that is put in place.

The form for parents/carers, children and young people should be filled out in a person centred way.

How is support from the EY Inclusion Fund requested?

Settings can apply using the templates and forms they have been provided with.

Settings are expected to involve parents/carers and children before, during and after the application. Your views are recorded and returned with the application.

Settings will feedback the outcome of the panel with you. Where funding is agreed this will be available to settings within 14 working days.

Settings must review the EY Inclusion Fund Provision Plan (EYIFPP) with parents/carers before the date funding is due to cease.

Allocation of funding is early support; therefore support should start immediately after it has been provided to settings.

Who to contact?

If you think your child would benefit from the support contact your setting’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) or Manager who will be able to provide further information.
If your child is accessing the funding and you feel support is not appropriate you can talk to the SEND team within the Local Authority who are able to advise you on 01952 567407 or alternatively you can talk to IASS (Independent Advice Support Service) on 01952 457176.

Early Years SEND Inclusion Fund Guidance and Criteria

The EY Inclusion Fund thresholds are set out on the pages that follow. They should be seen as providing guidance to all parties. Each request for inclusion support funding is considered individually at the Early Years Panel to enable panel members to come to a decision based on the threshold information and the evidence provided. This ensures consistency and transparency of decision-making across Telford and Wrekin.

The decision to allocate inclusion support funding is informed by three principle considerations:

1) The severity, complexity and long-term nature of the special educational need.

2) Despite relevant, purposeful, evidence based support and making reasonable adjustments, it is not possible to meet the special educational needs within existing resources. This should include advice from external agencies (may include EYAT, Portage, Educational Psychologist)

3) Progress over time.

In most cases, the panel will expect the above principles and the descriptors to apply to the child in question, evidenced in the request, before agreeing a band specific to any one area of need. Where a child has needs across several areas, an overall funding band will be agreed based on the evidence provided. The quality of the evidence is crucial in enabling the panel to make comprehensive decisions.

Some children will have needs that span across two or more areas of SEN. It may be possible for a number of less severe special educational needs to have a significant cumulative effect on a child’s progress and inclusion support funding may be appropriate. In such cases, a judgement will be made by panel and the reaching of a consensus view.

As mentioned above, the provider must demonstrate how the graduated approach (cycles of assess-plan- do and review) has been implemented and monitored during their time at the setting prior to making an application (minimum of two cycles over a 3 month period). There is an expectation that Early Years providers will demonstrate the ways in which they have endeavoured to meet a child’s additional needs within the resources routinely available and this information must be evidenced when submitting an application. This can be evidenced using reviewed Target Plans at SEN Support, inclusion plans and risk assessments over a minimum of three months to evidence the need for inclusion funding.

The panel is happy to receive reports and information emailed from therapists in a secure manner if the appropriate permissions have been obtained. This is to help relieve capacity issues on specialist support services where a report may not yet be available.

Please seek advice from an Early Years Advisory Teacher if unsure what evidence to submit.

Band A Band B Band C
£1000 SEND Inclusion Funding per year £2000 SEND Inclusion Funding per year £3000 SEND Inclusion Funding per year
Guidance notes on using the thresholds to make a request

1. Children with wide-ranging learning needs

Some children may have ‘global delay’ or are working across most of the EYFS at age-bands well below their chronological age, suggesting that they have wide ranging learning difficulties and needs. It is essential the evidence submitted as part of the funding request triangulates with specialist reports. For some children with active or recent Health Visitor involvement, a completed and plotted Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) may be available. This gives standardised information based on parental views and can be useful in helping to profile a child’s development and needs across many areas.

2. Children with specific needs in particular areas

Some children clearly have more specific needs rather than wide-ranging ones, and in such cases the area of greatest need should normally be evidenced first. Completing or reviewing the child’s progress record should enable early years settings to build an EYFS profile as a starting point for considering areas of greatest (and least) need.

Communication & Interaction

There are two sets of Inclusion Fund descriptors in this section. The communication descriptors link closely with the EYFS prime area Communication and Language and the development of Listening & Attention, Understanding and Speaking. The Interaction descriptors are closely linked to those within the EYFS Personal, Social and Emotional Development prime area and are most appropriate for those children experiencing significant social communication difficulties and who may have, or be on the path towards a diagnosis of, an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or now known as Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). Many young children experience delays in the development of communication and language skills, and those with mild delays should normally have their needs met within the setting using the target setting at SEN Support, but without requiring additional funding. The panel will consider requests for those with moderate to significant or severe communication delays or language disorder, but in all cases evidence is required of assessment and intervention from a Speech & Language Therapist in addition to a Target Plan at SEN Support. There should normally be evidence of input from the Speech & Language Therapist.

Cognition & Learning

As the EYFS does not have a specific section related to ‘cognition’, Early Years Settings should be able to gather evidence from a range of learning experiences in which the child has had to solve problems of one kind or another, or use basic concepts to sort, match and classify. The child’s play skills, mathematical knowledge and skills, how they explore the environment and their understanding of the world are all relevant. Many cognitive skills develop as language skills develop and are facilitated by them, others – such as completing inset jig-saw puzzles, do not depend so much on language.

Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH)

This area of need corresponds closely with the EYFS Personal, Social & Emotional Development prime area, but with an added ‘mental health’ dimension which is perhaps more familiar as a concept to practitioners and agencies working with older children and parents/carers. Early years practitioners may be more comfortable with the term ‘emotional wellbeing’.

We know that some babies and young children do experience severe emotional trauma which in turn can lead to difficulties forming positive attachments with significant adults and a wide range of social and emotional needs, together with challenging behaviour. Some of these children may be subject to a Child in Need, Child Protection Plan, in care or adopted at the time a SENDIF request is being considered, and have (or be about to have) a Personal Education Plan (PEP) drawn up. The descriptors listed under SEMH will be considered against:

  • The level of behaviours displayed particularly in relation to age and context
  • Frequency (at least daily incidents)
  • Severity/intensity.
  • Its persistence over time.
  • Impact on learning and progress and on others
  • Progress over time (this should include information about progress against appropriately focused and relevant targets) Evidence submitted as part of the inclusion request could include:
  • EYFS information relating to the child’s progress in Making Relationships, Self Confidence and Self Awareness, and Managing Feelings and Behaviour.
  • Information about any structured observations of behaviour carried out in the setting, either by setting staff or outside agencies, and any targeted outcomes agreed. E.g. behaviour logs, frequency charts.
  • A completed risk assessment where safety of the child, or others, is a concern
  • If the child is part of a CIN / CP then information from Social Care (with consent).
  • A completed and up-to-date Common Assessment (CAF) with multi-agency input highlighting the child’s needs.

Physical Skills and Sensory Needs

There are separate sets of Inclusion Fund descriptors for each of these SEND areas. The physical descriptors relate closely to the EYFS prime area but with the emphasis on mobility and, to a lesser extent, personal care needs. In most cases requests to SENDIF will require evidence of involvement from a specialist agency, usually a Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist.

Children with significant physical needs may also have communication and complex medical needs, and these are recognised in the Inclusion Fund threshold bands. Separate requests can be made to the panel for specialist equipment through the appropriate specialist agency.

Children with severe sensory loss may have significant access and/or educational/learning needs as well as having complex medical or access needs requiring very high levels of intervention and support. The panel would normally expect the involvement of the Sensory Inclusion Service (SIS) to inform practice and to advise the panel on the child’s needs.

3. Children with Medical Needs

Settings are normally expected to make reasonable adjustments for children experiencing health and medical needs which do not impact in a significant way on learning and development. Advice should be sought from the Health Visitor or other relevant specialist agency if there are concerns about how to meet such needs. A health care plan may be necessary or already in place. Children with medical/health needs that impact on their learning and development must have a Target Plan at SEN Support that appropriately reflects these needs.

4. Children not in an early years setting

Some children with highly complex special educational needs and/or disabilities (e.g. physical/medical needs) will require support as soon as they start at an early years setting. The child’s needs are so significant that they are likely to require immediate support, aid or adaptations over and above that normally available through the graduated approach at SEN Support. We would expect the above information to apply with evidence coming from the one page profile, specialist reports, health care plan (if applicable) and relevant assessments. Requests for these children will normally come from a Health Visitor, Portage Home Visitor, Nursery Practitioner or another relevant professional involved with the child/family.

5. Exceptional Circumstances Requests

It is expected that the vast majority of requests for inclusion support funding will follow the above procedures, and will be examined in relation to the evidence received. However, in exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to request inclusion support funding without the evidence of actions taken by the early years setting. These circumstances include:

? The child (and family) has recently moved into Telford and Wrekin with a documented history of significant or highly complex learning needs.

? An unexpected/sudden and significant special educational need which occurred as a result of a medical condition, an accident, emotional abuse or trauma.

If you are planning to make an exceptional circumstances request please discuss with your Early Years Advisory Teacher in the first instance.

6. Contact information

If you have any queries about making a request to panel and are unsure about using the threshold descriptors, please contact SEND Team for further information.

SEND Coordinator/Officer

Education, Corporate Parenting and Inclusion
Telford & Wrekin Council
6B Darby House
Lawn Central
01952 567407

EYIF Downloads

Early Years SEND Inclusion Panel Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference for Panel Members


1. The name of the Panel will be the EY Inclusion Funding Panel (EYIFP)

2. The panel will be chaired by the Early Years SEND Officer. Panel members will consist of Early Years Advisory Teachers (3), Portage Team Leader, representative from Children’s Development Centre - Speech and Language Therapist, representative from Behaviour Support Service, SEND Coordinator (note taker).

3. The panel has been created, in response to SEND changes nationally and promotes the key principles underpinning the Children & Families Act 2014 and the new 2014 SEND Code of Practice.

4. The panel will consider applications for Inclusion Funding. (EYIF)

5. The panel will only consider requests for children without an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment or Plan.

Function of the panel

1. To decide whether the child meets the criteria for EYIF, determined by the quality of the graduated approach and provide the banding level appropriate to meet the child needs.

2. To support the inclusion of children and young people with SEND in PVI/Maintained/Childminder Settings who access grant funding (2yr, 3/4yr Universal Funding)


1. All members of panel must ensure that information, which has been shared or discussed at the meeting, is treated as strictly confidential in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 1998.

2. No details of individual cases, or panel discussion, should be discussed or continued outside the meeting on the day of the discussion, or at any other time.

3. It is the responsibility of panel members to raise any potential conflict of interest as appropriate.

Operational Principles

1. Panel members must attend all meetings to discuss cases.

2. Decision making will generally be made through discussion and the reaching of a consensus view, facilitated by the chair. If a consensus view cannot be reached, a democratic voting system will be used, with the chair having the casting vote.

3. The panel will meet 6 times per year.

4. The panel can only be held if there is a quorum of 5 (minimum).

5. All panel members are expected to have read through the cases in preparation for the meeting.

6. Applications to the panel will be administered by the Local Authority (SEND coordinator/Administrator).

7. The panel will communicate their decision on funding in an outcome letter from the local authority within 14 working days of the panel.

8. The panel does not operate a formal appeals procedure. However, professionals can seek information from the panel as to why certain decisions have been made at any time, if these are not sufficiently clear in correspondence.

September 2018

Upcoming Early Years Inclusion Panel dates:

  • 16 October 2023

  • 11 December 2023

  • 29 January 2024

  • 11 March 2024

  • 13 May 2024

  • 8 July 2024

Please return all paperwork to:

Please write EY Inclusion Fund Panel in the subject heading

Reviews must be returned the week before the panel (by Wednesday). The panel will only discuss a case if a review has been received. Support will cease without a completed review.

Settings will be notified by letter, sent through email, following the panel.

If you wish to send in requests through the post please use the address below;

SEND Team (Early Years)
Education, Corporate Parenting and Inclusion
Telford & Wrekin Council
6B Darby House
Lawn Central