Bristol is committed to ensuring that special educational needs provision for children in the early years is jointly planned and delivered and that children and families are able to access equitable services and provision across the city.

The SLEs for inclusion have the capacity, skills and commitment to support and work alongside early years settings to improve the quality of learning and teaching, through the development and delivery of a high quality provision for all children who are disabled or have special educational needs aged 0-5 years. Through a request system settings can access SLE support.

Current examples of SLE deployment include work to support settings with Education & Health Care Plans (EHCPs) and updating of inclusion policies. Other areas that SLEs can offer support and advice are practical strategies and resources to develop inclusive practice, suggestions around training and individual observations.

The Children’s Act (2014) incorporated the development of the new SEND code of practice which will pay a vital role in ensuring that children and young people achieve well in their early years and lead happy and fulfilled lives. Councils and local health partners have worked together to prepare for the new arrangements. A significant change is that the statements of special educational needs has been replaced by Education Health Care Plans and now support children from 0-25. The new plans ensure a co-ordinated approach from health, education and social care.


Training for Early Years Practitioners is available from the Bristol Early Years Teaching School who offer a range of courses specifically relating to inclusion and children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Bespoke Training is available for early years settings at Inset Days or Team Meetings provided by the Early Years Portage and Inclusion Team or the Bristol Autism Team.

Training is available to:

  • develop early years providers skills to include children with disabilities and/or special educational needs
  • empower early years practitioners to support children with disabilities and/or special educational needs in the longer term from within their own resources


SENCO Cluster Meetings

Early Years SENCO Cluster Meetings take place six times a year during each of the half term periods on an area basis: North, South and East/Central. All SENCO’s working in early years settings are invited. The focus for the meetings include Funding Applications and Transitions. The remaining meetings focus on the individual needs of the group as identified at the meetings.

More information about the support available from the Early Years Portage and Inclusion Team can be found here.


Inclusion contacts

Dawn Butler, Early Years Manager: Inclusion

Heather Mundy, Gypsy Roma Travellers

Anne Mortimore, Early Years Support Teacher, SLE – The HOPE Virtual School