The Level 3 qualification for early year’s practitioners has notoriously little content aimed specifically at children with SEND. A new qualification now aims to fill this gap by offering a bolt-on to the traditional qualification that enabled early years practitioners to gain confidence and skills in working inclusively with children with SEND. Launched in January this year, the course was designed by early years SEND specialists Dingley’s Promise – a charity that runs specialist centres across Berkshire and is committed to spreading good practice to enable more children to experience a mainstream early years education.
Learners have the opportunity to study four units over four months, covering ‘child centred learning’, ‘communication’, ‘sensory needs and challenging behaviour’ and ‘wider systems’. Activities include an online group session with a dedicated trainer at the beginning and end of each unit, online materials to study in the learners own time, and practical activities for them to undertake in their own settings. The content includes video footage from Dingley’s Promise Centres to see some of the strategies in action, and an online forum means the trainees can access peer support both during and after their course.
One learner said: ‘The course content was outstanding from how to support children with SEND in your setting with continuous provision, to having meetings with parents, to putting in place smart targets and making referrals, and applying for EHC plans. The course has benefited me and my setting. I’d highly recommend it to all.’ 100% of trainees stated they would recommend the course to a friend.
Chief Executive of Dingley’s Promise Catherine McLeod MBE said ‘we are passionate about making sure every child with SEND gets the best start in life. We have been asked by settings to develop this training and so we gathered our learning from the past 35 years and created this qualification. It is our dream that we can help to build a more inclusive society by helping early years settings have the knowledge and confidence to support children with SEND through inclusive practice.’