Meeting children’s health, development and behavioural needs

Between October 2015 and January 2016, NatCen contacted a small number of settings to explore in-depth how early years providers meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and what the facilitators and barriers are to meeting these needs. 

Asked to take part in an interview?

We interviewed families who had previously taken part in SEED and had indicated that they have concerns about their child’s health, development or behaviour. We wanted to visit the childcare and early years settings that these children were attending.

We received permission from the child’s parents to contact settings, before getting in touch. 

What was involved?

Taking part involved a NatCen researcher visiting your setting to interview a member of staff (ideally the case study child’s key worker or your setting’s SENCO) to discuss your work with the case study child and children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in general. We wanted to conduct short informal observations of the child in the course of a normal day at your setting.

For the staff member participating in an interview, taking part involved speaking to a researcher face-to-face for up to 1 hour. The visits were arranged for a date that was convenient for you and the interview was arranged for a time that minimised disruption to the working day.

There were no right or wrong answers: we were interested in hearing your views and experiences. Participation was completely voluntary and you didn't have to answer any questions you didn't want to. However, taking part in this research gave you the chance to influence future government policy and investment in childcare and early education.  

What was the research focus?

We were particularly interested in hearing about:

- How your setting identified children with SEND

- What provisions your setting had for children with SEND

- What the facilitators and barriers were to meeting the needs of children with SEND

- How your setting communicated with parents of children with SEND.

What happened after the visit?

The views of all those involved in the research – setting staff and parents/carers – contributed to a report for the Department for Education (DfE). Settings and individuals were not be named in the report.  

Research timeline

Interviews: October 2015 to January 2016.

Report: Summer 2016.