Championing Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Girl with Down Syndrome

Improving outcomes for children and families

By joining the Championing SEND programme, you're joining a group of early years practitioners across England who are committed to improving outcomes for children with SEND. When you take part in the programme, you will develop the knowledge, skills and confidence of your staff team, and help families access the information they need.

A focus on SEND knowledge and confidence - Why is it important?

Over 1.5 million pupils in England have special educational needs (SEN). Both the number of pupils with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and the number of pupils with SEN support have increased each year since 2016 with the current data showing: 

  • The percentage of pupils with an EHCP has increased to 4.3%, from 4.0% in 2022. 
  • The percentage of pupils with SEN but no EHCP (SEN support) has increased to 13.0%, from 12.6% in 2022. 

The most common type of need for those with an EHC plan is autistic spectrum disorder and for those with SEN support is speech, language and communication needs. Of all reported characteristics, pupils with a special educational need have the largest attainment gaps when compared to those without SEN. 

In early years setting, of those with any SEN, the percentage of children with SEN support with a good level of development was over six times that of children with an EHCP (22.9% compared with 3.6%). (Early Years Foundation Stage Profile results 2021-22). 

The Parliamentary Inquiry into childcare for disabled children (2014) highlighted that there is a significant shortfall of knowledge, skills and confidence, in this area in the early years workforce. That's why we've developed this bespoke programme to help you drive better outcomes for children with SEND. 

Learning Outcomes
  1. Increase the confidence, knowledge and skills of the Championing SEND Lead to support the staff and children in the setting
  2. Identify best practice in identifying and supporting children with development delay or SEND
  3. Examine the benefits of developing inclusive, accessible provision for maximising the potential of all children
  4. Improve the adult interactions with children, the resources offered and the environment in the setting
  5. Improve positive relationships, enhancing staff confidence levels working in partnership with parents and other professionals
  6. Increase the progress of all children but specifically children with SEND
  7. Access the programme’s resource bank, webinars and on-line training to extend and embed the settings SEND provision.
Championing SEND Programme

The Championing SEND Programme has 9 steps to work through.  The resources and training included in this section aim to support the SEND Lead and practitioners to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence when working with children with SEND.

Available Products

Number of topics: 12

This section contains the 9 step programme for you to work through.

The programme begins with you evaluating your current practice to enable you to measure the impact and improvements resulting from your participation in the Championing SEND programme. We then move on to providing you as a Championing SEND Lead with online training and resources to enhance and underpin your current knowledge in order for you to support the development of your team.

 This section includes:

  • Support to track focused children in your setting, completing an assessment entering the programme and an assessment at the end of the programme to measure impact on children’s attainment
  • Online training to enhance and consolidate your current knowledge giving you the underpinning information you need to support staff and children to improve outcomes
  • Staff confidence audit tools to help you to evaluate how your team feel about supporting children with SEND in the setting
  • Learning environment audit tools to help you to evaluate how well your setting environment is designed to support children and to assess and enhance the resources you provide for children to support their exploration
  • Action plans to record key priorities, area’s for development and the on-going improvements and impact made as you work through the programme
  • A reflective learning journal to capture the amazing moments of your journey
  • A case study to showcase something you have achieved and are really proud of as a result of participating in the programme which can be celebrated

Press the button below and type the code provided in the registration email from NDNA.


Number of topics: 11

The resource section includes:

•  Activity ideas

•  Webinars on key topics 

•  Ideas to share with parents

•  Support for areas identified through your audit tools 

•  Research and information relating to SEND in the early years

Press the button below and type the code provided within the Championing SEND programme.


Number of topics: 4

This course aims to support programme Champions by providing research-based information on coaching and practical ideas on how to coach effectively as an educational lead by:

  • Exploring what coaching means and the key skills required to coach effectively
  • Identifying research based coaching tools/methods which can be used by the Champion and Deputy Champion to support staff
  • Introducing self-assessment audits and other impact measurement tools which are required as part of the programme.