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Support for children with SEND

Does my Child have Special Educational Needs and/or a Disability (SEND)?

A child or young person has Special Educational Needs if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.  

A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:  

  • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or 
  • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions

Some Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) may be identified very early in a chil'd life but others may not be diagnosed until they are older. 

Many children will have special educational needs of some kind at some time during their education. Schools and other organisations can help most children overcome the barriers of their difficulties present quickly and easily. But a few children will need extra help in some or all of their time in school. 

Areas of SEN 

Children may have needs in one or more of the following categories: 

  • communication and interaction 
  • cognition and learning 
  • social, emotional and mental health 
  • sensory and/or physical needs 

Children may have needs that cover more than one area, or needs that change over time. Settings should plan to meet the needs of the child based on an understanding of their strengths and any areas of difficulty. Each child should be viewed holistically, so that all their needs can be identified and considered within the context of the setting and appropriate strategies and interventions put in place. 

Sefton Early Years SEND Team

The Early Years SEND Team provide support to parents and settings for young children aged 0-5 years. They provide developmental programmes of learning both in the settings and at home. (Portage interventions). They also provide quality assurance, advice and support for children in the settings and monitor their developmental progress.

The Early Years SEND team can offer advice and support for children at home and in settings. There are also streams of funding available to support your child within an Early Years setting.

Sefton Local Offer

The Local Offer provides clear and accessible information about the provision Sefton Council expects to be available locally for our children and young people from 0 to 25 who have special educational needs and/or disability (SEND). For more information on Sefton’s Local Offer visit Local Offer – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.  


Services for SEND

The Sefton Early Years teams consists of Early Years SEND and Early Years Quality. Within the Early Years SEND team are different services, see below for an overview ofchild holding rubber duck each team and how they support Early Years children with SEND:





Sefton Portage Team

Portage promotes children’s development through play.  Portage Advisors work directly with young children aged 0-3 years usually in the child’s home and where appropriate, their early years setting, modelling effective interventions to those who know the child. 

Their role involves; 

  • An initial developmental assessment to decide whether Portage is the most appropriate service for a child. 
  • Ongoing assessment and regular reviews of a child’s progress. 
  • Structured play activities with a chart for families to record their child’s achievements. 
  • Advice on further play activities for families to try at home. 
  • Signposting and information about other services that may be able to offer help or advice to a family. 
  • Liaison with other professionals in order to ensure a joined-up approach to meeting a child’s needs. 
  • Support in looking at nursery settings and the ‘next steps’ after Portage. 
  • Stay and Play sessions for families of children with Special educational needs or disabilities that have recently been referred to the Early Years SEND Team 

Sefton Inclusion Officers 

Inclusion Officers provide practical advice to settings, schools and families about ways of supporting children up to 4 years of age.   

Their role involves; 

  • Providing assessment and advice around evidenced-based interventions through a cycle of Assess- Plan-Do-Review. 
  • Supporting children’s transitions into early years settings. 
  •  Working with newly appointed Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs). 
  • Advise on appropriate activities and techniques, providing example resources where appropriate, and modelling and evaluating their use. 
  • Contribute to the multi-professional assessment of children’s needs, including children with complex learning difficulties and neurodevelopmental needs. 
  • Help monitor SEN policy and practice within Early Years settings and support settings in implementing the statutory requirements as set out in the SEND Code of Practice. 
  • Deliver SEND training for Early Years Settings 

Sefton Inclusion Consultants 

Inclusion Consultants are specialist teachers. Their work is informed by knowledge of teaching approaches, including effective strategies and interventions for children with SEND, and by knowledge of the early years curriculum and development. 

Their role involves; 

  • Providing assessment and advice around evidenced-based interventions through a cycle of Assess- Plan-Do-Review. 
  • Promote and develop good inclusive practice in early years settings and schools 
  • Provide an allocated amount of time to individual schools/settings to support them in the identification of SEND priorities and actions required to improve outcomes for children. 
  • Support Early Years Practitioners and Teachers in their understanding of why a child is not making progress and the approaches that may enable learning and development 
  • Monitor the progress of identified children, especially at important transition times between classes and schools. 
  • Advising and working in partnership with parents and carers. 

Information to follow. 

Sefton Early Years Educational Psychologists

The Early Years team work closely with specialised Educational Psychologists. Educational Psychologists have qualifications in psychology and educational psychology.  They are interested in how children learn. They use knowledge of child development and psychological theory to help find solutions in relation to a child’s needs. 

Find out more information about Educational Psychologist Sefton Local Offer.

Other Services 

 Charities and Services to support with SEND

NAS (National Autistic Society) Stay and Play under 5s April 22nd, 10-11.30am every fortnight at Farnborough Road, Southport. 

Twinkle House, Wellness and Sensory Centre in Skelmersdale. Rooms available on hire and sleep clinics available. Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm. 

The Sensory Hive. Specialist Sensory Integration Therapy Centre. Whiston, Liverpool. Weekly Sensory sessions. Fridays at 10am 18mths-4 years. 

Fun Time Knowsley- toddler sessions mon-thurs 9.30am-11.15am.lSEN sessions on a wednesday in school holidays only, see Facebook for details.

The Play Den Burscough : SEN sessions available in the holidays. See Facebook/Instagram for updates 

VIPhq Birkdale Southport. SEN sessions Thursday 9.30-11.15am 

Autism In Motion Liverpool. Pre school Stay and Play SEN sessions Monday 10-11.30am term time.

Umbrella Stay and Play sessions. Litherland Family Wellbeing Centre. Every Friday. 10am-11am. Also offering 1:1neurodiverse sessions.


Autism Education Trust -

The AET is a not-for-profit organisation, led by the National Autistic Society and Ambitious about Autism, and supported by the Department for Education. Since 2007, the Autism Education Trust (AET) has been helping to develop good autism practice. They offer an extensive library of free resources for education professionals, leaders and parents.

ADHD Foundation: 

The ADHD Foundation is the UK’s leading neurodiversity charity who support children, young people and adults who live with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, DCD, Dyscalculia, OCD, Tourette’s Syndrome and more. The ADHD Foundation Neurodiversity Charity supports parents and carers so they can understand and meet the needs of their child. With a range of webinars, courses, resources, and our screening service, we help families to know which interventions and adaptations are right for them.


Speech and Language UK

Provide tools, training and resources for parents and teachers.

Communication Trust– ICAN charity

I CAN is a children’s communication charity, who help children develop the speech, language and communication skills they need to thrive.

PACEY - Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years | PACEY PACEY is the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years. They are a charity dedicated to supporting everyone involved in childcare and early years to provide high quality services, information and advice to children, their families and carers.

Across England and Wales they provide training, expert advice, help and peer support to practitioners and practical and impartial support and information for families and carers and those advising them. They represent the views and experiences of practitioners and champion their vital role in helping prepare children for a bright future.


EHCPs and High Needs Funding  

An EHC needs assessment is a statutory assessment for children and young people with complex needs aged 0-25. The assessment helps the local authority decide whether a child requires an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). 

The local authority would expect to carry out an EHC needs assessment for those children: 

  • Whose special educational needs (SEN) are long term, severe and complex.
  • Who have not made progress in spite of the interventions and support put in place over a period of time.
  • Who need SEN provision that cannot  reasonably be provided within the resources normally available to mainstream schools and educational settings, including additional funding and resources (funding and resources can be provided through High Needs Funding without the need for an EHCP.


Last Updated on Thursday, May 30, 2024

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