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Professional Resources

Support with SEND from the local authority

The Early Years SEND Inclusion team supports children with additional needs.

The team consists of Portage, the Early Years SEND Team, the Early Years Communication and Interaction Team and the Early Years Inclusion Practitioners.

Portage service

Portage is a home-based educational service for children from birth to 2 and a half years old. Portage home visitors build strong relationships with parents/carers and they give practical help and advice through home visits.

Children and parents are also offered access to group sessions which are run in localities around the county. Each session has an educational focus and provides parents the opportunity to meet other families. Family events are run throughout the year (Christmas, Easter and summer) when families can come together.

Portage is offered to children who attend a pre-school provision for up to two days a week. Children who attend for more sessions each week may be offered support from the Early Years SEND Inclusion team where there is a greater focus on work within the child’s early years setting. Children can also move to this team when they are 2 and a half years old.

Leicestershire’s Portage service is accredited by the National Portage Association (NPA). The NPA has rated Leicestershire’s Portage Service as a 5-star service.

When your child is 2 and a half they will transfer to either the Early Years SEND inclusion team or Early years communication and Interaction team.

Early Years SEND Inclusion team

Specialist advisors and practitioners may visit your child and your family at home or at their nursery or both (see below).

They work with children with significant needs from just after birth until they start school.

The team works with children who have a:

  • much greater difficulty in learning than most others of the same age
  • disability that stops them doing activities that most other children of the same age can do
  • physical or medical need that impacts on their ability to access universal provision

Your Early Years SEND Inclusion advisor or practitioner can:

  • teach your child in your home and show you how you can teach your child
  • use play to help your child learn by observing and imitating them – this is called modelling learning
  • give you and the setting advice on how to improve your child’s learning, communication, personal and emotional skills
  • contribute to an assessment
  • tell you about other help you can get for your child
  • support transitions such as starting at a setting and/or school
  • liaise with other professionals who are supporting your child

Early Years Communication and Interaction team

Specialist advisors and practitioners work with children who have a diagnosis of autism, who’s on the ASD pathway, or who display a social communication and interaction need.

The team work with children from birth until their first term in school.

They may work at home, or in settings or both. 

The Early Years Communication and Interaction team can:

  • develop understanding around sensory processing and social communication
  • model strategies for parents and professionals
  • give advice about environments and the role of the adult in the setting
  • contribute to an assessment
  • support transitions such as starting at a setting and/or school
  • liaise with other professionals who are supporting your child
  • tell you about other help you can get for your child

Early Years Inclusion Practitioners

The Inclusion Practitioners work with children who are at risk of exclusion, from their school or setting. The team supports children until they are statutory school age.

This work is based in settings and schools and can take the form of:

  • advice
  • modelling strategies and techniques
  • intensive support alongside setting/school staff members
  • supporting dual placements
  • contribute to an assessment 
  • support transitions such as starting school
  • liaise with other professionals who are supporting your child

The support we offer

The support we offer a child, family and setting varies depending on the child, the setting the child attends, how often they attend and the team the child is under. The frequency of the visits offered to both settings and families, where applicable, is based on several factors including, other professional involvement, the level of need of the child and the health of the child.

The following is consistent for the Early Years SEND team, the Early Years Communication and Interaction Team and Portage.

Attending a specialist-maintained nursery (Menphys)

If a child attends Menphys, our involvement ends. This is due to Menphys being a specialist-maintained nursery with qualified teachers and an outreach programme.

Attending a specialist unit (Beacon and Oasis)

If a child attends either Beacon or Oasis specialist unit, the team will stay involved to monitor your child’s progress and support the setting as required, including supporting statutory assessment.

Attending an Early Years provision for 3 or more sessions a week

If a child attends an Early Years provision (pre-school/nursery/childminder) for three or more sessions a week, the teams would solely support the child in the provision and maintain contact with families through telephone conversations/meetings. 

Attending an Early Years provision for less than 3 sessions a week

If a child attends an Early Years provision (pre-school/nursery/childminder) for less than three sessions a week, the teams would support the child in the provision and offer home teaching in the form of play-based assessments, advice and support

If a child does not attend an Early Years provision

If a child does not yet attend an Early Years provision (pre-school/nursery/childminder), then the team will support with home-based learning and will also support families in finding suitable provisions and helping with the transition. 

A child supported by the Inclusion Practitioners

Children on an Inclusion Practitioner caseload are offered bespoke intensive support to support the child accessing the provision or school. Families of children on an Inclusion Practitioner caseload will receive limited home support, due to the focus of this team.
 

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