Early Years Inclusion Programme

Early Years professionals are among the most committed and skilled education professionals in the country with thousands of people who strive to make the early years a wonderful experience for all children – including children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Southampton City Council are fortunate to be one of 10 Local Authorities, chosen to participate in the Dingley’s Promise Programme, a series of 10 courses over five years aimed at empowering early years practitioners to deliver inclusive practices by upskilling them through training and shared information/learning resources.

The training focuses on increasing learners’ awareness of the needs of all children. It particularly covers the needs of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). It also aims to increase practitioners confidence to support the learning and wellbeing of all children in their setting.

Southampton City Council, Early Years and Childcare Service are committed to working in partnership with all professionals to improve services for children with SEND and do this in the following ways:

  • Working in partnership with other Local Authorities and professionals from health, social care and education to give children the range of support they need
  • Meaningful parental engagement
  • A National Steering Group
  • A comprehensive and extensive training offer for mainstream early years settings to enable them to work inclusively with children with SEND
  • Sharing of information and best practice with early years educators
  • Lobbying nationally for a more inclusive early years sector for children with SEND

Course leaflets

Free Training Offer

Ten courses over five years, with two available to start right away. All courses are provided on an online self-guided study basis and include practical activities and webinars.

Time needed

Approximately five hours to complete the reading and practical activities plus three hours to watch the webinars per course.

Who is it for

Anyone who works in or with early years.


Email support from the Dingley’s Promise training team, and peer support in a closed Facebook group.


Certificate of completion from Dingley’s Promise with potential for a kite mark for your setting.

Register your interest

We want every practitioner to do this training over the next few years and to celebrate those who complete it!

Look out for regular updates in the bulletin!


Dingley's have recorded a discussion that gives an overview of the project.

How to qualify for an inclusion-friendly setting kitemark

Everything you need to know about qualifying for the mark and applying for it can be found in Dingley's kitemark leaflet. There is separate guidance for childminders in the Dingley's kitemark leaflet for childminders.