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Early Years

In this section, you will find information on a wide range of services for children aged 0-5 years and their families. This includes information on: Maternity Services, Health Visiting, Children’s Centres and Early Help, provision for 2 year old early learning, Nursery Early Learning for 3 and 4 year olds, Speech and Language Therapy Service, Child Development Centre, Early Years SEND Support Team, Educational Psychology and Special School Provision.


Eligible 2 year olds. For some children Early Learning can be funded from the term after the child’s second birthday. Parents can access these free places, for eligible children, in 20 schools, 48 private nursery providers, 7 local authority nurseries and nearly 100 childminders across Walsall. All of the providers types are specifically trained to care for and teach this age group and can help to identify any area of learning where a child might need extra support. Parents can get support too and can learn more about child development and address any concerns. This early start is an excellent opportunity for children to build their communication and social skills.


If parents are getting one of the things on this list, they can have free early learning for their child when they are two years old:

● Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or both and have a gross household income of less than £16,190

● Working Tax Credit 4-week run on

● Income Support

● Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

● Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

● Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

● Support through part 6 Immigration and Asylum Act

Children can also start earlier if:

● they’re looked after by a local council

● they have a current statement of special educational needs (SEN) or an education health and care plan (EHC)

● they get Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

● they’ve left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order


3 and 4 year olds (Nursery aged) provision All children can have free early learning the term after their third birthday. Autumn born children can have up to 5 terms of nursery provision before they start in Reception class, Spring born children can access 4 terms and Summer born children have three terms. Walsall has over 70 infant or primary schools, 8 nursery schools, 48 private nurseries and 100 childminders that deliver nursery aged early learning.

All of the providers are able to plan learning for every child. By law, they also follow ‘The Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs’ and are inclusive of children with additional needs. In most cases the children will be included within the class or group, sometimes with additional support funded by the local authority. There are two levels of funding that the school/setting can access to meet the needs of the child. The first is the Inclusion Fund which is a smaller amount of money used to resource the provision for individual children with low or emerging needs. The second is a larger amount of money that can also fund resources or pay for some additional one to one adult time to deliver an individual programme of learning for the child. There are also two specialist school providers that can support children with more complex needs.

Add to 5-11 tab and education  - check admissions

Reception aged children can start school at 4 years old in the academic year that they become 5 years of age. Parents must apply for a September place before the January deadline at the beginning of that year. The reception class teacher will assess all children and plan learning so that every child will make progress. Again it is very important that parents work in partnership with the school to ensure children make good progress in the 7 areas of learning and reach their age related milestones before they start the national Curriculum in Year 1. The seven areas of learning are:

  • Communication and Language (Prime Area of Learning)
  • Physical Development (Prime Area of Learning)
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (Prime Area of Learning)
  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

Some children may have individual learning plans but will still be making progress across all seven areas but particularly the first three as they are the building blocks to further learning.

Early identification of SEND Some children are born with a disability or have an early diagnosis. Some children’s special educational needs are identified during health visitor checks or through visits to a doctor.  For many children additional needs are identified in the child’s early learning provision, through normal assessment procedures.

All children are routinely assessed so that teachers and practitioners can plan appropriate learning for children based on what the child needs to experience next as part of their healthy development.

If a child needs something additional to or different from the learning planned for the group then that may be described as special educational needs.


Specialist Groups

Little Rainbows – Profound, Multiple and Severe Learning Difficulties. Delivered by Early Years SEND, Specialist Health and monitored by Speech and Language Therapy/Dysphagia.

Little Explorers – for 2 to 3 year olds presenting with Social, Communication and Developmental Needs. Delivered by Early Years SEND, Specialist Health and Speech and Language Therapy.

Starting Out Group – Multi Agency Assessment group for 3 to 4 year olds presenting with Complex Social, Communication and Developmental Needs. Delivered in conjunction with Speech and Language Therapy, Clinical Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Early Years SEND and working alongside Community Paediatrician.

Feel Good Friday Group - Multi Agency Assessment group for 3 to 4 year olds presenting with Complex Social, Communication and Developmental Needs. Delivered in conjunction with Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Early Years SEND and working alongside Community Paediatrician


Help and Guidance (support and specialist advice)


The Early Years SEN Team comprises of SEN Teachers and Learning Support Practitioners who teach, advise and support children with SEND in homes, two-year old provisions in schools, nursery schools, private, voluntary and independent settings and playgroups. The team also provide modelling and coaching, training and support networks to share good practice.

Referrals into Early Years SEND Team can be made directly by schools and settings. This support may take the form of environmental advice, training or individual consultation and advice.

Referrals into Team Around The Child at Walsall Child Development Centre can be made in order to access Home Teaching, Advisory Support and Multi-Agency Groups. Once referred into Team Around The Child a professional from the team will complete a Specialist Assessment Visit with parents to decide on the best next steps.

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