Back to news & events

The SEND Reform – Local Offer – Bristol & South Gloucestershire

The SEND reforms: how they build on the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework – what the early years sector needs to know and what they need to do


Through the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms (SEND reforms), the government, is requiring Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities to work together to integrate services across the 0-25 age range. Under the new system there will be a much clearer emphasis on offering help at the earliest possible point, with children and young people with SEN and their parents or carers fully involved in decisions about their support and what they want to achieve. The reforms are set out in the Children and Families Act 2014, and the new SEND Code of Practice: 0-25 years.


Key principles in the Children and Families Act 2014 in relation to SEND

Participation: the Act promotes the participation of parents, children and young people in decision-making about SEND.

Outcomes: the Act focuses on outcomes and improving progress for children and young people with SEND

Integration: The Act requires a joint approach across all agencies:


Education, health and social care will be required to co-operate at a local level to meet children and young people’s needs;

• local authorities and health commissioning groups will be required to commission services jointly for children and young people with SEND, and present that publicly as the local offer. This will help ensure that services are joined up around a common set of outcomes and those parents and young people are clear what support is available locally.


Changes in assessment and planning

The majority of children with SEN or disabilities will continue to have their needs met within mainstream early years settings. Early Years Action and Early Years Action Plus will be replaced by SEN Support: a graduated approach to identifying and meeting SEN, with early years provision following the principles and commitments of the EYFS statutory framework in involving parents in identifying needs, deciding outcomes, planning provision and seeking expertise at whatever point it is needed.


Health services must inform the parent and the local authority if they identify a child under compulsory school age as having SEN or disability (e.g. through the neo-natal screening programmes or the Healthy Child Programme two year old check).

• Red Bus Nursery & Pre-School will work together with parents/ carers to agree ambitious outcomes for identified children and set clear progress targets, and be clear in their planning about how resources are going to support and reach the targets.

• Parents will be fully involved in discussions about their child’s progress and reviews of the provision needed to achieve the agreed outcomes.

• Education health and care plans are intended for those with more complex needs The education health and care plan assessment and planning process is much more joined up, outcome focused and delivered in partnership with parent carers. It will be delivered and agreed within a maximum of 20 weeks.

• A local authority should conduct an EHC needs assessment for children under compulsory school age when the special educational provision required to meet the child’s needs cannot reasonably be provided from the resources normally available to the early education provider or school, or when it is likely the child will need an EHC plan in school.

• Where young children do need an EHC plan, the local authority must seek advice from the early years setting in making decisions about undertaking an EHC needs assessment and preparing an EHC plan. LAs should consider whether the child’s current early years provider can support the child’s SEN or whether they need to offer additional support through a plan.

• Families of children with an education health and care plan must be offered a personal budget.

• Statements will be transferred over to Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessments and plans from September 2014, usually during an annual review or at a key transition point such as preparing to go into reception.


• All children develop at their own pace. Where a child has a complicated and long term need which covers education, health and care, an EHC Plan may be appropriate. However, there are other issues, such as speech and language delay or behavioural problems, which are not necessarily caused by a special educational need or disability.


Local offer

From September 2014 every local authority will be required to have a “local offer” which informs parents, carers and young people with SEN or disabilities what education, health, care and other services such as transport and leisure are available in their local area.

This includes childcare provision which is suitable for disabled children and those with SEN. It will also set out what information services are available locally, how parents and young people can request an EHC plan assessment, the arrangements to resolve disagreements, including through access to mediation. The Local Offer should also cover the support available to all children and young people with SEND from universal services such as GPs, targeted services for those who need additional short term support and specialist services for those needing specialized, longer term support.

The local authority must involve parents, young people and education settings such as children’s centres and early years settings in the local offer. It must also publicly consult on the local offer, and publish the results of that consultation, including what they have done as a result of the consultation feedback. The local offer must contain provision for children and young people with SEN or disabilities from across the 0-25 year old age range. The Code encourages LAs to consider commissioning services such as Portage, or peripatetic services for children with hearing or visual impairment.


Red Bus Nursery & Pre-school will:

Continually monitor and support children to ensure that they develop and learn as

appropriate, identifying any developmental issues, working with parents to address any identified problems, use their own best endeavours to support the child – using their own resources, drawing in extra help if needed (SEN Support), and if necessary encourage the parent to refer their child for an Education Health and Care Plan assessment. We will maintain a record of children under are care, which will be available to parents and will include how the setting supports children with SEN and disabilities.


Red Bus Nursery & Pre-school will co-operate with the local authority in reviewing the provision that is available locally and help develop the local offer. The local authority must ensure that all providers they fund in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors are aware of the requirement on them to have regard to the SEND Code of Practice, and should make sure funding arrangements for early education reflect the need to provide suitable support for settings in meeting their duties to support these children.


As part of the SEND Reform 2014 Red Bus will:

  • Use our best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need;
  • Ensure that children with SEN engage in the activities of Nursery alongside those who do not have SEN;
  • Ensure there is a qualified practitioner designated as the SENCO who must ensure all practitioners in the setting understand their responsibilities to children with SEN, make sure parents are closely involved and that their insights inform action taken by the setting and liaising with professionals or agencies beyond the setting;
  • Inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child;

Prepare a report on:

  • The implementation of their SEN policy;
  • Their arrangements for the admission of disabled children
  • The steps being taken to prevent disabled children being treated less favourably than others;
  • The facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and
  • Their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access over time.
  • This compliments existing duties under the EYFS statutory framework and the 2010 Equality Act.


PVI settings: only maintained settings are required to accommodate children with EHC plans. However, it is best practice for all PVI settings to have a SENCO, whether specific to the setting or as a group of settings. If a PVI setting has the infrastructure to be able to support a child with complex needs, they can do so.

For a “good or better “early years setting, this is well established practice. The Code sets out an approach set out around an “assess, plan, do, review” approach to supporting children with SEN or disabilities. This resonates strongly with the Early Years Foundation Stage, which all Ofsted registered settings must follow. As with the wider reforms to the EYFS, the government is not specifying how settings document the additional SEN support that is being offered, but emphasises the importance of agreeing clear outcomes, and monitoring how well the child is progressing in comparison to all the support they are receiving, and what they will do if the child is not improving.


What is the Bristol Local Offer?

The Local Offer provides information on what services children, young people and their families can expect from a range of local agencies, including education, health and social care. Knowing what is out there gives you more choice and therefore more control over what support is right for your child.

Bristol’s Local Offer is now ready for you to use and can be considered to be open for consultation with all partners and users. This includes parents, carers, young people and service providers. As a part of this wider consultation Bristol’s local offer will be reviewed and improved as new content is added and responses to your comments are published. Working together in partnership, collaboration and co-production will ensure Bristol’s local offer becomes ever more helpful and useful to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families.

What you can expect from the Local Offer

On this site you can expect links to sites about or information on:

  • special educational provision from early years to college
  • health provision
  • social care provision
  • other educational provision
  • training provision
  • travel arrangements for children and young people to schools, colleges and early years education, and
  • preparing for adulthood (transitions), including housing, employment and leisure opportunities.

Your role in Local Offer

Your feedback is essential to how the Local Offer is managed. We will use your feedback to:

  • show providers what is working and what isn’t
  • check that what is being offered is being provided
  • ensure that services are well distributed
  • ensure that the site is easy to use

You can submit feedback on services through this site. Bristol City Council will then, publish your comments, along with what we have done about them in a regular report.

To find out more about our statutory duty to provide the Local Offer

Department for Education’s information for young people about SEN and disability support changes

Department for Education and Department of Health’s SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years

Bristol Parent Carers website

SPSC website

Council for Disabled Children’s information on SEND reforms

Preparing for Adulthood website


Findability has been changed to provide a one stop shop for Bristol’s Local Offer. It has been developed with the following feedback from parents in mind:

  • When talking about trying to find information parents often report a range of negative emotions which add to their already stressful lives
  • They feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and do not know where to start
  • They often receive conflicting advice and simply do not know who to trust to give them the information that will help them, especially when it is professionals giving conflicting advice. Parents report that they tend to only trust other parents’ advice who have already been through the system and understand which direction to go in.
  • They report feeling ‘lost in a maze’ or feel as though they are constantly ‘going round and round in circles’
  • And finally when they find what they are looking for then far too frequently they find that either the information is out of date and the service is no longer available, or the contact information is incorrect, or that they are not eligible and the service is closed to them. When this happens they are back at the beginning and do not know where to turn.


Bristol City Council in partnership with Services providers and Bristol Parent Carers have worked to develop the Local Offer on Findability so that it is more than just a directory. This means:

  • Parents and Carers can easily find relevant support services to them, even if they don’t know exactly what they are looking for.
  • Young people to have a single place they can go to for guidance on how to prepare for adult life.
  • Professionals can easily look up information and use this to ensure that they are giving consistent messages to their service users.
  • Anyone can find out details about what teams or professionals do, to help them get the most out of services
  • It’s clear how to access SEND services in Health, Education and Social Care services, and what can be expected from these services.
  • There is an anonymous way of feeding back to providers and the Local Authority if the services that they offer aren’t up to scratch, or aren’t as described.



Services and provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in South GloucestershireLocal Offer

What is the South Gloucestershire ‘Local offer’?

The’ Local offer’ is clear ,accessible information in one place for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, (SEND) and their parents/carers, about services and provision available for them in South Gloucestershire. For those who do not have access to a computer, the Local Offer will be available in other ways and in libraries, one-stop shops and other public places.

What is in the Local Offer?

  • How the new 0-25 service works, including criteria for accessing the service, copies of forms such as the ‘needs assessment’ and the EHCP.
  • How personal budgets work.
  • Where to get independent advice and support.
  • Local authority and health services, available to everyone (universal services).
  • Local authority and health services for vulnerable children and young people/young adults (targeted and preventative services).
  • Local authority and health specialist services such for children and young people/young adults with complex needs.


The Local Offer is more than a directory of services and will be added to all the time.


South Gloucestershire Council ) is developing its Local Offer in consultation with parents, children and young people. It will include what is available in the wider community, neighbouring areas, in leisure centres, and via local voluntary and community organisations, churches, local employers and businesses.


Your feedback and ideas for improvements to the Local Offer are welcome. See