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Early years

Hurry! Deadline Thursday

Have your say on a potential new resource for Speech and Language in the Early Years.

It only takes two minutes to enter your details about an exciting Early Years Toolkit that you could have the opportunity to use! Complete it here- Speech and Language in the Early Years (

Early Years Inclusion Funding

The Early Years Inclusion Fund is designed to support settings with resourcing solutions to support a graduated response to meet the needs of children in their setting.

Please see below an update regarding some changes to the Early Years Inclusion Fund from September 2022.

Dates for this year’s EYIF requests are as follows:

TermClosing date for requestsDecision panel dateFeedback to settings
Autumn19th October3rd NovemberWB 7th November
Spring1st December14th DecemberWB 19th December
Summer8th March22nd MarchWB 27th March

All settings are expected to provide evidence of the graduated response already implemented to endeavour to meet a child’s needs.

The impact of COVID on Early Years children has further challenged already stretched requests for specialist support and assessment through specialist routes. This is challenging everyone involved in education, health and care provision for children to rethink how support can be effectively delivered to those settings and children who need it.

Education recovery in early years providers: spring 2022 – GOV.UK (

Settings need to consider what it is that they need to support the child effectively. Whilst a large proportion of applications are for 1:1 full time funding for a member of staff, this is not sustainable and sets an expectation that a child will always need an adult with them to access a setting. 

We are encouraging settings to think differently and consider what equipment, training, or specialist support a child might need to accelerate their progress.

All Early Years settings are responsible for implementing both the SEND Code of Practice (2014) and the Equality Act (2010).

This year we are going to have two different routes for providing support:

  1. Individual support (existing application process)
  2. Setting support (Training, equipment, specialist support)

All sections of the application form must be completed, including the family outcomes section to highlight the partnership working between setting and family.

In addition to this, additional evidence can be added which includes:

  • Health visitor information and assessments
  • Professional reports e.g. speech and language, specialist teacher

This term we are also going to trial a setting support form, which considers strategically what your setting might need to further support a group of children through an equipment or training purchase instead.

Please remember that this is a small inclusion fund and the first time we have trialled this approach.  We wouldn’t be looking to fund anything above £2,500 in the first instance.  

The same child cannot be referred in the same round for both types of funding.

We will be looking for examples of good practise through these requests to measure the impact and share with other settings and influence options for future allocation of funding.

Download the Early Years Inclusion Funding request form (Word, 114 KB) .

If you have any questions or want to submit your request form, then please email


Parent carers should know about the Early years page on the Local Offer. There is information on training and workshops, childcare, and more.

NELC SEND Local Offer | Early years (

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