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Early Years – Support for children 0-5 with special educational needs

A child may have special educational needs (SEN) because they are finding it harder to learn than other children of the same age. This may be a need related to:

  • communicating or mixing with others
  • mental health
  • thinking and understanding
  • sight or hearing
  • physical development
  • social or emotional development.

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a long term and substantial negative impact on daily life and a child will only have special educational needs if the disability impacts on his or her learning.

If your child is of pre-school age talk to your health visitor or doctor. If your child is already attending or about to start a pre-school, such as a nursery or play group, discuss your concerns with the SENCO (SEN Coordinator).

There is more information and advice through the Local Offer at Early years – Wiltshire Council.

A useful guide on the support system for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). SEND: guide for parents and carers  –

Primary and Secondary School aged children (5-16) with SEN

Talk to your GP, health visitor or school staff if you are worried that your child has special educational needs. They will work with you to discuss any concerns and identify needs so that your child receives the right teaching as quickly as possible.

For information about Wiltshire’s SEND Service, call 01225 757985 option 5. Calls will be answered by a SEND Lead Worker. Lines are open every weekday from 9am-4.30pm excluding bank holidays. Outside these times you can leave a message and a SEND Leader will get back to you within 48 hours (excluding weekends).

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or My Plan – These are how support is assessed, planned and captured for children and young people with SEND when their needs cannot be met within local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges. There is more information including how to request assessment for an EHCP/MyPlan  at- Primary – Wiltshire Council.

For information on advice and support including a list of schools and colleges in Wiltshire offering specialist educational support – Schools providers primary – Wiltshire Council.

Preparing for adulthood – learning and training after the age of 16

Many young people with special educational needs will attend a mainstream college or training provider with other young people of the same age. Find out more about educational and employment provision on the Wiltshire Council website  Schools and colleges for young people aged 16 and above – Wiltshire Council.

The Wiltshire Employment Support Team (WEST) is a supported employment service for young people and adults with special educational needs and disabilities, including autism. They aim to support young people with SEND to find and keep various levels of paid employment.

For more information call the team on: 01225 718004 or email


For more information about these services call the team on: 01225 718004 or email


We assist customers with disabilities to find out more about their local community and how they can access some of the following:

  • Finding voluntary work
  • Socialising
  • Joining a club
  • Further Education; including College courses and other training opportunities
  • Using their community facilities to do things that they enjoy
  • Meeting friends
  • Traineeships
  • Travel training.

We provide a time limited service; with the aim of working with the customer so they are able to find, take part in their chosen community activity and to do this independently.


Supported internships are delivered by Wiltshire College, Fairfield College and Swindon College, with support from Wiltshire College job coaches and includes on-the job training with college based learning. They help young people (aged 18-24 with an EHCP) gain practical experience and work skills towards the job they would like to do.


A service for SEND young people travelling to post-16 education settings in Wiltshire with a variety of travel options. Usual methods include; bus travel, walking routes and train travel.



If you do have SEND there are adjustments that can be made and support available to help you go on to study and work to the best of your ability.

Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help more disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support if you have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition.

An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support to help you:

  • Start working
  • Stay in work
  • Move into self-employment or start a business.

How much you receive will depend on your circumstances, it doesn’t have to be paid back and will not effect any other benefits you are in receipt of (you must be 16 or over to receive the grant). The grant can pay for things such as; specialist equipment, a support worker/job coach if required, disability awareness training for colleagues.



The Work and Health Programme is designed to improve employment outcomes for people with health conditions or disabilities and those unemployed for more than two years. If you are interested in finding out more about the Work and Health Programme you will need to speak to an adviser in your local Jobcentre Plus.


Your Care Your Support gives you information about the adult care process in Wiltshire and has a list of services to help you remain independent.


Disability Rights

It is important for you to be aware of your rights that you are entitled to whilst working. It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against anyone with a disability. Protection against disability discrimination can be found within The Equalities Act 2010 which covers the following areas:

  • application forms
  • interview arrangements
  • aptitude or proficiency tests
  • job offers.
  • terms of employment, including pay
  • promotion, transfer and training opportunities
  • dismissal or redundancy
  • discipline and grievances.

This Equalities Act covers the Police, armed forces and people on practical work experience, whether paid or unpaid. However some volunteers are excluded from the protection provisions so please seek specialist advice. It also protects those who suffer discrimination because they associate with the disabled, e.g. their carers. This is known as associative discrimination.

For further assistance please see the links below:

Equality Act
Citizen’s Advice – Disability Discrimination
Disability rights
ACAS – Disability discrimination

Other useful links

Wiltshire SEND IASS – free confidential, and impartial information, advice and support.

RNIB Staying work –  an overview of the support and services that can help you in work  if you have experienced a change in your sight. 

Mencap Employment services –

Government Schemes

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

Website: .

The Disability Confident scheme supports employers to make the most of the talents disabled people can bring to their workplace. You can find vacancies with employers that have signed up to the scheme on the Find a job website.

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