Diversity and inclusion

Guidance and strategies to support and extend inclusive practice.

Inclusion Funding

The majority of children with additional or special educational needs will not require special resources or enhanced staffing to be successfully included in a setting. Most providers will meet the additional needs of their children very well.

For support to deliver high quality, inclusive practice to all children, refer to the West Sussex Ordinarily Available Inclusive Practice guide.

For guidance on the expectations of Universal Inclusive Practice in Early Years settings refer to Chapter 3 of the SEN and Disability in the Early Years Toolkit (Council For Disabled Children).

What is Inclusion Funding?

Funding can be awarded to support the inclusion and participation of children with severe/complex needs and/or a disability that are accessing a Free Entitlement place with an Early Years provider.

These children may be in receipt of Inclusion Funding for a time limited period only, or for the duration of their place with the Early Years provider.

How to request Inclusion funding?

Early Years and Childcare providers registered to offer Free Entitlement funded places (such as private, voluntary and independent providers) may request Inclusion Funding where a child needs support which is over and above ordinarily available inclusive practice. The child must be accessing a Free Entitlement place with the provider in order for the provider to access funding, and the provider will need to complete an Action Plan for Inclusion.


Important: You must speak to your Early Years and Childcare Adviser (EYCA) by the following dates for your request to be considered for the applicable term:

  • Autumn term 2022 - by 10 June 2022
  • Spring term 2023 - by 11 November 2022
  • Summer term 2023 - by 10 February 2023
  • Autumn Term 2023 - by 9 June 2023

(Note that deadlines will usually be 6 weeks before the end of a term to ensure you are notified of the decision and can plan the use of funding, if awarded, for the following term.)

1. Read the following document

2. Discuss the potential application with your EYCA. If you don’t know who your adviser is, contact the Family Information Service to find out.

3. Complete or update an ‘Action Plan for Inclusion’ and return this to your EYCA.

Your EYCA will then contact you to arrange a visit to your setting to review the evidence you have collected, observe the child in the setting and complete professional comments.

For pre-entry requests for funding, base it on the evidence you have gathered from the child’s parents/carers and professionals involved in supporting the child for whom you are requesting funding.

4. If your application is successful, read the following document thoroughly:

Support for SEND under 5s in early years

The SEND Under 5s process seeks to establish proactive, practical support for families at an early stage, as well as identification of the support needed throughout their early years and into school. The process will be overseen by the Early Years and Childcare Advisers who provide inclusion support within pre-school settings.

For more information and to refer a child, view the Send Under 5 page on the Local Offer website.

Children with SEND who are likely to go on to need additional support in school should be referred to the local authority in which they live. For information on referral processes in a neighbouring local authority, visit their website:

Communication and language

Developing practice

Information to share with families

Key information to support the needs of individual children

Speech and Language Setting Support (SaLSS)

The Speech and Language Therapy Service and SaLSS therapists liaise with the Early Years and Childcare advisors to ensure appropriate support is available to Early Years settings.

Improving practice

Supported transition (pre-entry and moving to a new setting)

Where individual transition planning will be beneficial for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), we have developed materials in conjunction with partner organisations. These can assist practitioners in schools and early years settings, health professionals, parents and carers to work together to ensure a smooth transition into a new setting.

The following documents from the Transition Plan above, are provided here in Word to adapt for your setting:

Person Centred Planning

This approach is based on the values of inclusion and helps adults plan the support a child needs to be included and involved in their community (which includes you as their childcare setting).

This pack is intended to provide the tools needed to plan for children who have an identified special educational need or disability (SEND), or where there is a concern about the child’s learning and development. It also provides support  in meeting the principles of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (January 2015).

The following parts of the pack are provided in Microsoft Word format to adapt for your own setting:

Personal, social and emotional development

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and Disability Access Fund (DAF)

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is additional funding for early years settings to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3 and 4 year olds.

Children looked after by the local authority

A child who is being looked after by their local authority is known as a child in care. They might be living with foster parents, at home with their parents under the supervision of social services, in residential children's homes, or other residential settings like schools or secure units. They might have been placed in care voluntarily by parents struggling to cope, or children's services may have intervened because a child was at significant risk of harm.

Last updated:
15 June 2022
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