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Valence School

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Early Years

I am Pam Holden, the Sevenoaks Specialist Teacher for Early Years (EY) based at Valence School. Together with Claire Woolmer from Milestone Academy, we support pre-schools, nurseries and early years provision within schools in the Sevenoaks District.

Early Years supports children presenting with needs in the following areas; Cognition and Learning (C&L), Communication and Interaction (C&I), Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) and Physical Disability (PD) in pre-schools, nurseries and within early years provision with schools.

The main roles of the Sevenoaks Early Years Specialist Teacher are: 

Co-ordinating the Early Years work, including that of the outreach team

Leading Early Years LIFT meetings, also attending some School Age LIFT meetings

Providing guidance, support an advice to staff whilst working with parents to establish and adapt provision to meet the needs of children who require a personalised level of support. This includes observing and working with the children, jointly writing personalised plans/provision plans and agreeing accessing further pathways of support as appropriate, e.g. SENIF, SENIF Practitioner Support, Specialist Intervention, EHCP applications and planning for a thorough individualised transition into school.

Writing and delivering core and bespoke SEN training and SENCO Forum events for Early Years staff including Reception Age SEN drop-in advice sessions

Liaising and working with professionals from multi-agencies, e.g. speech and language therapist, occupational therapists, children’s care co-ordinators, educational psychologists etc.

Organising and running the Sevenoaks Early Years Transition Event and supporting the Swanley Early Years Transition event




Early Years SENCO Forums:

Three times a year, Early Years Setting Staff and SENCOs are invited to free professional development sessions, generally hosted at Valence School, Westerham. These are when we provide SEN updates, share best practice and resources with staff and have speakers in from varying dimensions of support for Special Educational Needs in the Early Years, e.g. Visual Impairment Teachers, Early Help Staff, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists - to name a few.

Early Years (School Age) Drop-In:

These sessions are run throughout the year to provide an opportunity for staff working with Reception Age children to book an appointment to come and discuss pupils that staff have identified as having additional needs within a Reception Class that you would like further advice and guidance about. Also, allowing staff to discuss next steps in terms of interventions, classroom strategies and pre-LIFT advice for specific children.


The Early Years Specialist Teacher for Sevenoaks will deliver the Kent Core training sessions for Early Years Staff which are;

ASD in the Early Years - a two day course which examines the different theories associated with autism, supports staff to understand how ASD impacts on communication and social interaction and looks at the impact the environment can have on a child with ASD with a focus on practical strategies and interventions to support

Emotional Regulation - Supporting Children Where Behaviours Challenge - a day course that focusses on how to identify difficulties children may be having, how the setting environment can impact on children's behaviour and looking at strategies to help build your confidence to support children with emotional regulation difficulties

Small Steps for Great Gains - Collaboratively Supporting 2 Years Olds with Complex Needs - this day course aims to increase practitioner's understanding of what 'complex needs' means when applied to 2 year olds in a mainstream pre-school environment, to provide support to be able to use effective systems to gather the necessary information to enable the appropriate planning for individual children with complex needs and to prepare the environment to promote children's individual development alongside their peers

A variety of other training sessions may be delivered by the Early Years Specialist Teacher and more information can be found on the Sevenoaks STLS Training Calendar (in the Training and Resources section). 

Bespoke training sessions are also available for Early Years staff on request. Please complete the Bespoke Training form (in the Training and Resources section) and clearly state your requirements.