Leading children’s disability charity, Dingley’s Promise has partnered with Action for Children, to spread their expertise and build more inclusion across the country. The two organisations have entered a partnership around the ‘Certificate in Early Years Inclusive Practice’ developed by Dingley’s Promise and accredited by NCFE. The first stage of this partnership will be a pilot of delivering the training to Action for Children nurseries in the Northeast of England. Funded by Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust, the pilot will track the impact of the training on early year’s practitioners, and on the children with special educational needs and disabilities that they work with.
Dingley’s Promise launched this unique training programme in January 2018, and had over 50 trainees sign up in the first year. Through their own evaluations of the training, they have found that 100% of trainees felt the course had benefited their own practice, and 100% felt it had benefited their organisation. Early figures suggest that the training results in a doubling of the capacity practitioners feel they have to support children with SEND.
In the UK currently, only 22% of local authorities reported having sufficient places for children with SEND in the early years, and only around 25% of children with SEND are taking up their 30 hour early year’s entitlement. The gap between children with SEND and other children continues to grow across the country, and this lack of access in the early years can only contribute to making this gap even wider.
Chief Executive of Dingley’s Promise Catherine McLeod MBE said: ‘The inclusion training is an important part of ensuring that children with SEND have equal access to early year’s education, and it is our hope that in the future every mainstream setting in the country will have the opportunity to take the training.’
Head of Early Years at Action for Children Sarah Read said: ‘We want to ensure inclusivity is at the centre of our early years services at Action for Children and we’re really pleased to be working with Dingley’s Promise on this exciting project, which really puts children at the heart of the training for our front-line staff. It’s vital that people working with children in their early years sector are equipped with the practical skills and knowledge to help them effectively support children with SEND.’
Certainly this partnership of small regional charity with large national charity will ensure that there is an independent evaluation of the impact of the training, and more people than ever before will hear about the benefits of ensuring early year’s practitioners are knowledgeable and confident in working inclusively with children with SEND.