24 June 2020

Early Years SEND Partnership support continues

Building on the success of our previous project where I CAN offered half a day’s training across 27 locations to 782 early years practitioners.  We then led more in-depth training sessions with another 289 early years leaders and managers, as well as specialist tailored support to four local authorities – Sandwell, Calderdale, North Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire.

In line with the current guidelines relating to the coronavirus pandemic, I CAN will be offering the core training (speech, language and communication needs in early years settings) through two webcasts.  The aim of the training is to provide early years practitioners, managers and SENCos with an opportunity to consider how best to support children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).  The virtual modules have been designed and produced by specialist speech and language therapist advisors in I CAN and can be watched at any time in the comfort of practitioners’ own homes or within settings. By the end of the webcasts, virtual learners will have:

  • considered what speech, language and communication needs are
  • identified impacts in the early years
  • developed an understanding of how to identify SLCN in the early years
  • considered approaches used to support access to the curriculum of young children with SLCN
  • looked at strategies that can be employed to support children’s development of speech, language and communication skills.

One participant from a previous course that ran in Telford fed back It was excellent. The trainers were very professional and knowledgeable. The course preparation and content was excellent and the extent of the resources and information provided will be really helpful in my practice”.

In addition to the webcasts, I CAN has been funded to provide specialist support to one local authority in each of the above five regions, helping them review and amend their strategy for supporting children with SLCN across the early years provisions in their area. Through this support, we will work with local authorities to identify gaps in the process and delivery of settings’ identification of and support for SLCN and to enable solutions to ensure that these gaps are filled. The focus will include:

  • Appropriate identification of all children with SLCN attending local settings
  • Ensuring access to local and national support mechanisms for SLCN
  • Enabling the local settings’ processes for identification and support to fit in with any local SLCN pathway that exists / is being developed
  • Developing practitioners’ skills in supporting commonly occurring SLCN
  • Developing systems for monitoring individual children’s progress and evaluating support systems for SLCN
  • Developing systems for settings to make progress in effectively supporting children with SLCN

As part of this specialist support, I CAN will offer three meetings per local authority over the next year, working with strategic leads and setting managers. Action plans will be developed prioritising SLCN in settings and to identify actions and support mechanisms available for their achievement.

A lead in one local authority who took up this specialist support in 2019 – 20 commented, “It has been so beneficial to have (I CAN) as a critical friend, to provide outside challenge, support and guidance in a period of change and transition in our LA in how we deliver SLCN support in our early years provisions.”  They added, “One of the things that has worked really well is that (I CAN) recognised our need to develop ownership over our work.”

If you have the backing of leaders within your local authority and would like to access this specialist support, or, as an early years practitioner, manager or SENCo, would like more information about our forthcoming webcasts, please contact kfreeman@ican.org.uk.
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