Early Years Training & Resources

A range of training opportunities and resources for Early Years Settings 

nasen offers a range of training opportunities and resources specifically for leaders and practitioners, working in the Early Years (EY). nasen is also currently working alongside, The Council for Disabled Children, I CAN, The Communication Trust, Contact, School Improvement Liverpool and Nursery World, as part of the DfE-funded EY SEND Partnership.

DfE funded CPD

nasen is pleased to confirm that with funding from the DfE we have been able to extend our offer of funded training for Early Years practitioners with through the Early Years SEND Partnership.

Accredited Early Years SENCO Award

This award, run by nasen, and developed by School Improvement Liverpool, is a 12.5 day course, which runs over a 3-4 month period. After undertaking a series of both written and observational tasks, attendees are awarded a Level 3 Early Years SENCO Award, which is accredited by Cache.

EYSEND Partnership: A Whole Setting Approach to SEND

The Partnership is working across 9 regions of England to provide support to both Local Authorities and Early Years settings to assist with strategic planning and provide training for Early Years practitioners, leading to improved identification, provision and outcomes for young children with SEND. nasen are offering online training for Early Years practitioners and childminders ‘Meeting the Needs of Every Child’ and online Early Years SEND Reviewer training for Early Years SENCOs from selected Local Authorities across the country.


NEW! Early Years Resources & CPD


Building Resilience for Vulnerable Toddlers

This webcast focuses on building resilience for vulnerable toddlers in response to the changes and challenges that have occurred over recent months during the COVID-19 pandemic.



The Importance of Play and Relationships

This webcast focuses on two important elements of supporting young children’s learning and development. These are play and relationships. They are particularly important at this time of unpredictability and change for young children.



Time together with your toddler




Meeting the needs of every child

This FREE 2 hour webinar will provide Early Years Practitioners with a thorough understanding of inclusive practice for SEND in Early Years settings.




Resilience Development Pack 

This FREE, DfE funded webinar series is available to all Early Years practitioners and Early Years Parents. It is particularly relevant to those caring for or teaching children with SEND. 




Family Case Studies

Funded by the DfE, these Family Case Studies have been produced to inspire and support families of early years children with additional needs.

Families and parents from across the country were interviewed throughout July 2020 about their own personal experiences and that of their family during the lockdown. 





NEW! FREE Early Years Transition Webcasts 

Funded by the DfE, nasen have now released three new webcasts and supporting documents for Early Years practitioners, SENCOs, teachers, teaching assistants and parents. These resources will support with the transition for all children, particularly those with SEND who are moving from nursery to Reception and Reception to Year One. The webcasts also focus on how COVID-19 may have impacted the transition for children in these groups, and provides approaches that practitioners can take to support them. 





nasen's Early Years SEND CPD

Getting it right for children with SEND in the Early Years is crucial – early identification and support can make a huge difference to children’s and families’ quality of life and longer-term outcomes. nasen is delighted to be able to offer a comprehensive range of Early Years SEND training and support packages, both for individual practitioners and settings, and to enable Local Authorities to develop their strategic work in this area.





Silver & Gold member Early Years resources

Due to the success of the recent Early Years project that was funded by the DfE nasen have now produced a range of silver & gold member only resources that can be used in addition to the free/bronze member resources. If you are not already a paying nasen member you join by registering online or upgrading by calling the office on 01827 311 500. 



Free Early Years resources 

A bank of resources designed specifically for the Early Years will give educators the resources and training needed to enable them to identify and meet the needs of young children with SEND. The resources are FREE, but we do require you to be registered as a nasen member at a bronze level or higher. If you are not already a member, register today

You can access the resources in any order; they are a bank of materials not a formal course. If you are an Early Years leader and want to use these resources with your staff, then please read the Information for Early Years Leaders first.

Information for Early Years Leaders

As an early years leader or manager, you may want to use these resources to support the Continuing Professional Development of your staff, so we have some suggestions to help you:

Focus On SEND Training (Early Years) is a good starting point; this will give you a baseline and enable you to view the accounts of your staff, so you can see how they are getting on and where they might benefit from your input. This could include being able to see what further training might be useful for them. Focus On SEND Training will give your staff a sound foundation in understanding good practice for SEND for them to build upon.

The webcasts are short presentations offering information and points for reflection. We recommend that they are viewed in the order presented as there is a logical progression but your staff are free to select any they want to access at any point. Equally, you might wish to support individual staff by directing them to specific webcasts. These could form an alternative starting point to Focus On SEND training, or you might like to suggest that your staff watch them after completing Focus On SEND training, to add depth to their knowledge.

Each webcast comes with a supporting document, containing the content of the webcast and some short reflection activities, and many have references to other useful sources. It will really help your staff’s professional development to complete these activities, either individually or as part of a group.

The webcasts include ‘reflection points’ where viewers are asked to stop and think; these will be most effective if the webcast video is paused at this point to allow staff time to do this reflection; you may wish to ask for feedback and discussion at these points.

You may wish to use the webcasts either individually or as a set, to enhance a staff meeting or CPD session. For example, if you are doing some development work on the role of the key person, then you could view the webcast about the role of the key person in relation to children with SEND as part of that session.

It is generally more effective when CPD takes place as part of a group, and occurs over time i.e. short fortnightly sessions tend to be more effective than a day once a term. Working together as a group also allows for discussion, deepens the learning, and will make it easier for staff to try things out in the setting so that they can then come back together to reflect further.

The face-to-face training resources are provided so that you can lead and deliver these sessions in your own setting, even if you are not confident with SEND, as the resources provide everything you need to be able to do this effectively. Face-to-face training, especially when delivered over several sessions with time for action and reflection in between each session, is a very effective way of developing your staff's skills and confidence.

You can decide whether you want to run the sessions as a whole day, two half days, or a series of one-hour sessions. It is generally most effective to space out learning, giving staff time to reflect, try things out and then return to discuss what they have tried, so we would suggest that you plan 5 one-hour sessions over the course of several weeks if possible.

The face-to-face sessions are a chance for you as the leader to really understand your staff’s attitudes, beliefs and levels of confidence, and to try to address any misconceptions that they may have. They also provide essential opportunities for you and your staff to discuss practice, perhaps in relation to individual children, and to consider your setting’s approach to meeting the needs of children with SEND.

You could use face-to-face training to introduce staff development for SEND, and then supplement it with other resources, but it may be better for staff to interact with some of the other resources first, so that there is a shared level of basic understanding which can then be dissected and discussed face-to-face.


The miniguides are designed to be read and referred to over a period of time. This will probably work best if staff have already had some input from one or more of the other resources available on the nasen website. You could suggest that staff read them online, or perhaps that one or two copies are printed out to have available for staff to quickly and easily refer to in the setting.

You may also decide that it would be helpful to have some copies available for parents, carers and visitors to your setting. This would support the message that you are an inclusive setting, as well as providing parents and carers with a valuable source of information. The miniguides could also be used to refer to in meetings with parents or carers, about their child with SEND.

Suggested timetable


View one webcst a week in staff meetings and give staff time for reflection activities


Have these guides available to all staff to refer to

Focus on SEND 

Ask all staff to complete this early years module & provide all staff with information & a link to the training 

Face-toFace CPD

Use the face to face training materials to deliver a one hour training session every other month.

Early Years Webcasts

Early Years Webcasts

20 useful webcasts to help you support children in the Early Years. Titles include: the role of the key person, the four broad areas of need, social and emotional well-being in young children, and many more.

Early Years Miniguides

Early Years Miniguides

Four handy mini-guides are now available. The guides look at how to identify and support children with SEND in the early years for: PVIs and governing-body led settings, childminders, reception classes and maintained nursery settings

Early Years Face-to-face training materials

Early Years Face-to-face training materials

These materials, split into 5 sessions, have been designed to help you facilitate training in your own setting. Sessions include: The role of the SENCO, high quality inclusive teaching, and working together with parents to support all children.


Early Years SEND Review Guide

The EY SEND Review Guide has been developed by AfA and nasen, as part of the EY SEND Partnership, to support leaders in Early Years settings to review their setting’s practice for children with SEND. We strongly recommend that you undertake training so that this guide can be used as effectively as possible – we are currently offering DfE-funded training for EY settings in the West Midlands, East Midlands, North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humberside.

Early Years Review guide


The guide is also available as a 'white label' PDF, which can be printed without images etc:  

Early Year SEND Review Guide - White label


 An editable word version of the tables within the guide is also available, and should be read in conjunction with the full guidance:    

Early Years SEND Review guide - editable



Early Years Settings SEND and Inclusion Pledge poster

A free-to-download poster which you can display in your reception area, this pledge shows your parents and visitors that you are committed to meeting the needs of all children, including those with SEND. The poster is would be an ideal way to demonstrate your commitment to inclusion, particularly if you have completed an EY SEND Review using the tools above.

Early Years Settings SEND and Inclusion Pledge poster




The Disability Access Fund: case studies on its impact

The DAF has been in place since 2017 to support access and inclusion for young children with SEND, through enabling providers to make reasonable adjustments. The Department for Education has commissioned this series of case studies which illustrate the impact it can have for individual children.

Find out more about Disability Access Fund