Special Educational Needs and Disabilities


At Little Cubs we have three experienced SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Coordinators) with a wealth of knowledge.

I have over 20 years of experience and work in partnership with parents to ensure the best possible outcomes for children.

Kelly-Marie Fill

I have been a SENco for many years and enjoy helping children progress and develop.

Alison Goss

I specialise in Speech, Language and Communication Skills

Joy Summer

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What is Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)?

In the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (2014) the definition of SEN is:

‘A pupil has SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, that is provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age.’

Children with special educational needs all have learning difficulties or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age. These children may need extra or different help from that given to other children of the same age.

Areas of Special Educational Need

Special educational needs and provision can be considered as falling under four broad areas.

1. Communication and Interaction

Children with Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) also may include children with dyslexia, ASD, Asperger, physical or sensory impairment e.g. hearing loss

2. Cognition and Learning

Includes children with Severe Learning difficulties (SLD), Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD), Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) e.g. dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia

3. Social, Mental and Emotional Health

Included children with anxiety disorder, oppositional problems, self-harming, substance abuse, eating disorder, Attentions Deficit Disorder (ADD) Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), attachment disorder, ASD, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), disruptive disorders

4. Sensory and/or physical

Visual Impairment (VI) Hearing Impairment (HI) Physical Disorder (PD)


All children and young people are entitled to an education that enables them to:

• achieve their best;

• become confident individuals living fulfilling lives; and

• make a successful transition into adulthood, whether into employment, further or higher education or training.


• The involvement of children, parents and young people in decision making

• The identification of children and young people’s needs

• Collaboration between education, health and social care services to provide support

• High quality provision to meet the needs of children and young people with SEN

• Greater choice and control for young people and parents over their support

• Successful preparation for adulthood, including independent living and employment

What is the Graduated Approach?

We at Little Cubs understand the importance on identifying special educational needs early so that we can help children as quickly as possible. The graduated approach recognises that children learn in different ways and can have different kinds of levels of SEN.

The SEN support is part of a four-part cycle through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the child’s needs and of what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes.

This is known as the graduated approach.

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What is the Graduated Approach?

At Little Cubs we support SEND children by building on our high quality teaching and provide personalised care for individual children. We are a universal inclusive provision, with an good approach to monitoring the progress and development of all the children.

SEN Support is designed to provide a graduated approach based on a cycle of action that can be revisited with increasing detail, increasing frequency and with the increased

involvement of parents.

Throughout the graduated approach we ensure that the child’s key person, remains responsible for working with the child on a daily basis and implements agreed interventions. The SENCO supports individual practitioners and leads and co-ordinates the graduated approach across the setting.

The Graduated Approach in Practice

The graduated approach has four stages of action: assess, plan, do and review. This cycle of action:

• Is led by the key person and is supported by the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator)

• Parents are engaged throughout

• Action is informed by the child’s views throughout

• The cycle can be revisited in order to identify the best way of securing good progress

Throughout the cycle, children’s views will be represented by parents and practitioners, but in order to ensure the child’s views inform the process directly, these are captured before any discussion. Whether children communicate verbally or by other means, picture and objects of reference can be used to promote communication with children about their views and their preferences, both at home and in the setting. These views can be brought to inform discussion and decisions at each stage. 

A Multi-Agency Approach

The following information highlights some of the key services that can support the SENCo role to improve outcomes for children with SEND. Knowing the professionals that can support the child, family, and setting is essential to the role and builds an effective toolkit to meet the responsibilities within the Early Years Statutory Framework 2017 and the SEND code of practice.

Equality & Inclusion

Early Years Equality and Inclusion Team

This team offers advice, support, guidance, and training to settings to develop inclusive practice for all children. Centrally funded setting support can be accessed via the Equality and Inclusion SEND support request [email protected] www.kelsi.org.uk/early-years/equality-and-inclusion Advisers do not work with individual children, and no parental consent is required before seeking support. Training, Support Visits and Products are available via www.threadsofsuccess.co.uk


Speech and Language Therapy (SALT

This is specialist support for children with speech and language difficulties. Support is accessed using Universal Speech and Language Therapy Referral, Parental Consent form, and Developmental Norm Charts. Contact details and referral documents / guidance are available on www.kentcht.nhs. Search Children’s speech and language.


Specialist Teaching and Learning Service (STLS

This team work with EY settings to support individual children identified with SEN and disabilities at the targeted and personalised level of intervention. Support is accessed via EY LIFT and requires parental consent to make a referral. Use Early Years Best Practice Guidance / Audits (available @ www.kelsi.org.uk/early-years/equality-and-Inclusion) All other documentation for EY LIFT including the Request form, PCI2 (parental consent) and guidance for parents is available on www.kelsi.org.uk left tab Special Educational Needs. Entitlement to the Inclusion Fund (SENIF) requires a specialist teacher to be working with the child and setting before it can be considered


Specialist Teaching and Learning Services (STLS) for HI, VI and MSI/Deafblindness

This team work with individual children in the setting with hearing impairment, visual impairment and multi-sensory impairment/deaf blindness who require specialist interventions because of their sensory impairment. Support is accessed from the County Coordinators. Information is available on www.kelsi.org.uk left tab Special Educational Needs and search Partnership Teams.


Education Health and Care Plan  

An EHC plan draws together professionals from education, health, and social care to meet the specific and special needs of the child. A specialist teacher or other professional would be involved at this point. Information regarding a statutory needs assessment is available on www.kelsi.org.uk left tab Special Educational Needs and search Statutory Assessment Request.

Early Help

Early Help and Preventative Services

Provide integrated support for children and families who are risk of having poor outcomes in their lives. Early Help Workers work directly with the family and co-ordinate services to meet their needs. Information is available at www.kelsi.org.uk left tab Special Educational Needs, left tab Early Help and Preventative Services. Advice and support can be accessed directly through your local Children’s Centre or at LIFT where an Early Help Practitioner will be present. 


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NHS Children’s Care Coordination Team 

Provide support and guidance to meet the assessed needs of young children with severe and complex needs and their family. Normally in place at an early stage before the child attends EY provision, however can be accessed at any time before statutory school age. The referral would be made when you feel a child would benefit from support from more than one health professional (including keyworkers, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, and community paediatrician).This was formerly called Early Support. The referral form is available on www.kelsi.org.uk left tab Special Educational Needs.



Portage offers a home visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional needs and their families. This service can be accessed using the NHS Children’s Care Coordination Team referral. Information is available on www.portage.org.uk 

Kent Local Offer

Kent Local Offer

This provides an effective method of information sharing for parents seeking childcare for a child with SEND. It identifies the support and services available to children with SEND and their families. It includes information about education, health and care provision. Settings should ensure that they regularly update their information on Children and Families Information Service (CFIS) to include practitioner’s skills and experience in supporting children with SEND as part of the Local Offer. Information is available on http://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/special-educational-needs/about-the-local-offer

SEND Guide for Parents and Carers

A Department of Education guide on the support system for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

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SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years

Guidance on the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people aged 0 to 25, from 1 September 2014.

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Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act offers protection from ‘discrimination arising from disability’ –

this means if someone is treated unfavourably because of something

connected with their disability. 

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Specialist Teaching Learning Service

Our Specialist Teaching and Learning Services team provides a service for children and young people (0 - 19 years) with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). 

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A glossary of the most common SEN terms:

ADD Attention Deficit Disorder

ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder

AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD): Autistic spectrum disorder is a relatively new term which recognises that there are a number of sub-groups within the spectrum of autism. Pupils with autistic spectrum disorder find it difficult to:

• Understand and use non-verbal and verbal communication

• Understand social behaviour — which affects their ability to interact with children and adults • Think and behave flexibly – which may be shown in restricted, obsessional or repetitive activities.

BEHAVIOURAL, EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL DIFFICULTY (BESD) Pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties cover the full range of ability and a continuum of severity. Their behaviours present a barrier to learning and persist despite the implementation of an effective school behaviour policy and personal/social curriculum. They may be withdrawn or isolated, disruptive and disturbing, hyperactive and lack concentration, have immature social skills or present challenging behaviours. Pupils with a range of difficulties, including emotional disorders such as depression and eating disorders; conduct disorders such as oppositional defiance disorder (ODD); hyperkinetic disorders including attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD); and syndromes such as Tourette's,

CAF Common Assessment Framework

CAMHs Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service

COP Code of Practice

CP Child Protection

DCD Development Co-Ordination Disorder

DISABILITY The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone who has: 'a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities'.

DISFIGUREMENTS Pupils with severe disfigurements are specifically covered by the DDA and do not need to prove that the impairment has a substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

DYSPRAXIA: Pupils with dyspraxia are affected by an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement, often appearing clumsy. Gross and fine motor skills are hard to learn and difficult to retain and generalise. Pupils may have poor balance and co-ordination and may be hesitant in many actions (running, skipping, hopping, holding a pencil, doing jigsaws, etc.)

EAL English as an Additional Language

EP Educational Psychologist

EHCP Education & Health Care Plan

FSM Free School Meals

HEARING IMPAIRMENT (HI): Pupils with a hearing impairment range from those with a mild hearing loss to those who are profoundly deaf. Hearing loss may be because of conductive or sensori-neural problems and can be measured on a decibel scale. Four categories are generally used: mild, moderate, severe and profound. Some pupils with a significant loss, communicate through sign instead of, or as well as, speech.

IEP Individual Education Plan

IMPAIRMENT -in the DDA definition:

• 'Physical impairment' includes sensory impairment

• 'Mental impairment' includes learning difficulties and an impairment resulting from or consisting of a mental illness

LAC Looked After Child

LEA Local Education Authority


'Long-term' is defined in the DDA as 12 months or more. Clearly this rules out conditions such as a broken limb which is likely to mend within that time.

  • 'Mental impairment' includes learning difficulties and an impairment resulting from or consisting of a mental illness
  • 'Substantial' means 'more than minor or trivial'
  • The definition can include a wide range of impairments, including hidden impairments such as dyslexia, autism, speech and language impairments, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Impairment does not of itself mean that a pupil is disabled. It is the effect on the pupil's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities that has to be considered.

MODERATE LEARNING DIFFICULTY (MLD): pupils with moderate learning difficulties will have attainments significantly below expected levels in most areas of the curriculum, despite appropriate interventions. Their needs will not be able to be met by normal differentiation and the flexibilities of the National Curriculum. Pupils with moderate learning difficulties have much greater difficulty than their peers in acquiring basic literacy and numeracy skills and in understanding concepts. They may also have associated speech and language delay, low self-esteem, low levels of concentration and under-developed social skills.

MULTI-SENSORY IMPAIRMENT (MSI): Pupils with multi-sensory impairment have a combination of visual and hearing difficulties. Many also have additional disabilities but their complex needs mean that it may be difficult to ascertain their intellectual abilities. Pupils with multi-sensory impairment have much greater difficulties in accessing the curriculum and the environment than those with a single sensory impairment. They have difficulties in perception, communication and in the acquisition of information. Incidental learning is limited. The combination can result in high anxiety and multi-sensory deprivation.

NORMAL DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITY The test of whether impairment affects normal day-to-day activity is whether it affects one or more of the following:

• Mobility

• Manual dexterity

• Physical co-ordination

• Continence

• Ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects

• Speech, hearing or eyesight

• Memory or ability to concentrate, learn or understand

• Perception of risk of physical danger

OT Occupational Therapist

PHYSICAL DISABILITY (PD): There are a number of medical conditions associated with physical disability which can impact on mobility. These include cerebral palsy, heart disease, spina bifida and hydrocephalus, muscular dystrophy. Pupils with physical disabilities may also have sensory impairments, neurological problems or learning difficulties. Some pupils are mobile but have significant fine motor difficulties which require support. Others may need augmentative or alternative communication aids.

'Physical impairment' includes sensory impairment

PROFOUND AND MULTIPLE LEARNING DIFFICULTY (PMLD): Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties have complex learning needs. In addition to very severe learning difficulties, pupils have other significant difficulties, such as physical disabilities, sensory

impairment or a severe medical condition. Their attainments are likely to remain in the early P scale range (P1-P4) throughout their school careers (that is below level 1 of the National Curriculum). (

PROGRESSIVE CONDITIONS Progressive conditions are conditions that are likely to change and develop over time. They include conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and HIV infection.

SEN Special Educational Needs

SENCO Special Educational Needs Coordinator

SEND Special Educational Needs & Disability

SEVERE LEARNING DIFFICULTY (SLD): Pupils with severe learning difficulties have significant intellectual or cognitive impairments. This has a major effect on their ability to participate in the school curriculum without support. They may also have difficulties in mobility and co-ordination, communication and perception and the acquisition of self-help skills. Pupils with severe learning difficulties will need support in all areas of the curriculum. They may also require teaching of self-help, independence and social skills. heir attainments may be within the upper P scale range (P4-P8) for much of their school careers (that is below level 1 of the National Curriculum).

SLCN Speech, Language, Communication Needs

SLD Severe Learning Difficulties


SPEECH, LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION NEEDS (SLCN) Pupils with speech, language and communication needs cover the whole ability range. Pupils with SLCN may have difficulty in understanding and/or making others understand information conveyed through spoken language. Their acquisition of speech and their oral language skills may be significantly behind their peers. Their speech may be poor or unintelligible. Pupils with language impairments find it hard to understand and/or use words in context. They may use words incorrectly with inappropriate grammatical patterns, have a reduced vocabulary or find it hard to recall words and express ideas. They may also hear or see a word but not be able to understand its meaning or have trouble getting others to understand what they are trying to say. Please note that pupils whose first language is not English should not be recorded as SLCN unless they also have a special educational need in this area.


DYSCALCULIA: Pupils with dyscalculia have difficulty in acquiring mathematical skills. Pupils may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems learning number facts and procedures.

DYSLEXIA: Pupils with dyslexia have a marked and persistent difficulty in learning to read, write and spell, despite progress in other areas. Pupils may have poor reading comprehension, handwriting and punctuation. They may also have difficulties in concentration and organisation and in remembering sequences of words. They may mispronounce common words or reverse letters and sounds in words.

Verbal dyspraxia: Articulation may also be immature and their language late to develop. They may also have poor awareness of body position and poor social skills.

VISUAL IMPAIRMENT (VI) Pupils should only be recorded as VI if it is the pupil's primary or secondary SEN and they are at School Action Plus or have a statement. Visual impairment refers to a range of difficulties from partial sight through to blindness. Pupils with visual impairments cover the whole ability range. For educational purposes, a pupil is considered to be VI if they require adaptations to their environment or specific differentiation of learning materials in order to access the curriculum.