Early Years SENCO training pilot scheme

(Left to right) Mandy Andrews: Lecturer in Early Childhood and SEN, University of Plymouth, Mandy Wilding: Education Development Officer, NASEN, Sarah Hawken: Early Years Advisory Teacher, Plymouth City Council, Jennifer Staunton: Liverpool School Improvement officer and Susan Shelley: Leadership Adviser, Plymouth City Council

Our education staff are part of a pioneering scheme to improve support for two, three and four-year-olds with special educational needs and disabilities across the city.

Plymouth was selected by the Department for Education to be part of a pilot to deliver brand new training for early years’ special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs). The training, delivered by SEND Strategic Advice and Support team, will give 21 candidates a Level 3 Early Years SENCO Award.

The team already deliver the mandatory National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination to school SENCOs, in partnership with the University of Plymouth.

SENCOs are individuals who help and support children and young people with special educational needs in schools, and this qualification gives early years SENCOs in nurseries and pre-schools a qualification, which recognises the importance of their role.

Councillor Jon Taylor, Cabinet member for Education and Skills said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Plymouth to be at the forefront of early years’ development. We want a highly-skilled, well qualified early years workforce, so that children in Plymouth can be supported to have the best start in life.

“We also want SENCOs working in nurseries and pre-schools to be properly recognised for the contribution they make to supporting children and families in the city, so I really pleased that we will be involved in this exciting pilot.”

Last week, the success of this project was celebrated at Windsor House, with colleagues from the university and representatives from the National Association for Special Educational Needs and School Improvement, Liverpool.