Early Years Level 3 SENCo Award

Early Years Level 3 SENCo Award

Prevention and early identification of children at risk of developing SEND is an ongoing priority. Every school and early years setting has a SENCo and all Early Years practitioners have access to ongoing opportunities for professional development, including area based SENCo Networks that meet on a termly basis, and support from Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE’s) who are practicing inclusion experts.

However we are continually striving to improve our practice and strengthen our infrastructure of support for children with SEND in the earliest years so were delighted when we learned about the NASEN Level 3 Early Years SENCo Award and leapt at the opportunity to take part in this exciting new initiative. Two members of the Bristol Early Years team have now been trained as trainers with the national awarding body, NASEN, and the Liverpool School Improvement Service to facilitate the delivery of the programme. A range of learning and teaching approaches have been incorporated into the course, including SENCo’s hosting visits to their own settings, making visits to specialist SEND provision in Bristol, drawing on the expertise of other professionals and hearing from a parent of children with complex needs.

A strong sense of connectivity and shared vision has been established amongst the first two cohorts. As one SENCo reflected ‘It has been a joy to build up a network with other SENCo’s which has enabled us to share ideas and signpost each other if anyone is stuck’. Another SENCO believes that she is ‘a better champion of SEND because of this course’.

The impact can already be evidenced at individual SENCo and setting level, with an improvement in the quality of SEND provision in participating settings, greater practitioner confidence in identifying and supporting children with SEND and their families, and increased awareness of how to access professional help for children with more complex needs.

It is our ambition to roll this training out to all PVI settings to ensure high quality leadership of SEND and to facilitate dialogue and the rich exchange of practice through the creation of new networks. For further information contact Kate Hubble kate.hubble@bristol.gov.uk or Sarah Swann sarah.swann@bristol.gov.uk .