Nursery Plus

What is Nursery Plus?

Nursery Plus is a Devon educational outreach service which supports Early Years settings in receipt of Early Years Education Funding to meet the needs of children identified with additional or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Nursery Plus is part of the continuum of SEND provision in Devon and promotes the inclusion of all children and the expectation that all children will achieve their potential.

Bluecoat is one of three Nursery Plus bases in North Devon which covers Great Torrington, Bideford and Holsworthy. Our Nursery Plus team is led by Teacher Becky Rollinson supported by Assistants Stella Turner and Leanne Watson.

Nursery Plus aims to:

  • Increase the number of children who start school achieving expected levels of development
  • Support children who have significant barriers to learning to help them achieve their potential
  • Enable settings to include children with social and emotional difficulties
  • Ensure children who have not already been identified have appropriate interventions and referrals in place prior to starting school

Nursery Plus achieves this by supporting Early Years settings to provide high-quality early learning through:

  • Implementing a graduated approach to meeting a child’s needs
  • Effective assessment of needs, appropriate target setting and focussed planning to enable a child to make progress
  • Providing advice and guidance on appropriate strategies and interventions to enable settings to improve outcomes
  • Modelling good practice to settings to support effective inclusion of all children
  • Promoting child centred approaches

Which children are most likely to benefit from Nursery Plus support?

Children who:

  • Have difficulties understanding what is said to them or tend to follow others
  • Find it difficult to express themselves and their needs
  • Have difficulties following instructions
  • Have difficulties following routines and boundaries
  • Are unable to focus for any length of time
  • Have difficulty managing their feelings and behaviour
  • Lack confidence
  • Are quiet or withdrawn
  • Rarely interact with other children
  • Are reliant on an adult
  • Often choose the same activities to engage with
  • Are disruptive or challenging
  • Have difficulties with self help
  • Do not know how to play with toys or use equipment appropriately
  • Have difficulties with fine or gross motor skills
  • Have identified areas of delay within the prime areas of the EYFS but no current assessments or services are involved

Nursery Plus Admissions Criteria

All children must meet these criteria:

  • The child is attending an Early Years setting
  • The child is in receipt of Early Years 3 and 4 year old Education Funding (EYEF) on commencement of Nursery Plus intervention. Priority will be given to children who are due to start Reception in the coming academic year/September after their 4th birthday.

In addition to the above, children will meet either Group A or Group B criteria below:

Group A - The child meets all these criteria:

1. The Child is less than 12 months delayed in more than one aspect of the Prime Areas of the EYFS

2. There is evidence that the child is making progress but this is currently not sufficient to catch up with their peers

3. The child does not need a multi-disciplinary assessment

Group B

All Group B Children MUST meet the Essential criteria and at least one other criteria listed below:


  1. The child should be no more than 2 years delayed in any prime area; the child will be less than 2 years delayed in more than one aspect of the prime areas of the EYFS (Children who are 2 years or more delayed may be supported through specialist services – please contact your EYC if you feel a child is more than 2 years delayed and no other services are involved)
  2. Is likely to attend a mainstream school

In addition to the Essential criteria identify at least one from this list:

1. Has been referred to the ICS single point of access for a multi-disciplinary assessment and is waiting for assessment.

2. Has had a multi-disciplinary assessment at the children’s assessment centre and has been discharged without further specialist intervention involved but continues to require support to make progress within the setting and ensure that their needs can be met

3. Has emotional and social difficulties which are impacting on the child’s ability to engage in learning

4. The setting has significant concerns regarding the child’s development but no other services have been involved prior to starting with the provider

NB: Nursery Plus is a service that is designed to have a significant impact on children’s outcomes. All the children must meet the criteria as set out above and all referrals will be considered based on

  • The referral criteria
  • The current case load
  • Whether a clear impact on outcomes can be identified

The criteria are to help settings identify children who may benefit from support for Nursery Plus and to enable Nursery Plus to provide an effective service that makes a difference to children based on the service aims.

If you feel that a child would benefit from Nursery Plus but you are uncertain that the child meets the criteria then please discuss this with the Early Years Consultant.

How Are Referrals Made?

All referrals will be made by Early Years settings adhering to the criteria for referrals using a county agreed referral form. A referral form is available to download on the Devon County Council website.

Before a referral is made it is recommended that settings should contact their Early Years Consultant to discuss the needs of the child and the planned referral to Nursery Plus.

Referrals can be made termly and should be submitted to the local Nursery Plus team via a secure email system or by registered post by the deadline set.

Referrals will be reviewed against the criteria by a panel on a termly basis.

Dates for final submissions are as follows:

  • Autumn Term: Last Friday in November
  • Spring Term (dates may change due to Easter Holiday dates): Last Friday in February
  • Summer Term: Last Friday in June

All Nursery Plus teams will hold a waiting list where necessary and additional local review and admissions meetings will be held where places become available throughout the year.

When a child is allocated a place:

  • the setting will be contacted to confirm a place is available
  • support for the child will start no later than the beginning of the following term but may start as soon as a place is available
  • Nursery Plus staff will contact the setting to confirm day of visits and finalise any other information that is required for the setting or parents

When a child is not allocated a place but is on the waiting list:

  • the setting will be contacted notifying them that the child is on the waiting list
  • the setting will be asked to contact their EYC for advice in the interim
  • the setting will be contacted as soon as a place becomes available and updated termly if there is no place.

When a child is not allocated a place:

  • the setting will be contacted by the Nursery Plus base
  • the setting will be asked to contact their EYC for advice

It is the setting’s responsibility to inform parents of the outcome of the Nursery Plus referral.

You can download this information in the Useful Downloads section below.

Useful Downloads

Nursery Plus Criteria
Nursery Plus Referral and Consent Form Privacy Notice