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Early years

Update- Referral system

The Early Years Team is expanding. We are now pleased to inform you that Emma Riddle, specialist EY teacher, has moved over to work alongside the Portage Team and Area SENDCos under the EY Team umbrella. To ensure we can support you in an effective and efficient way, we are introducing a referral system. If you feel you need support from the EY team, please complete the referral form, Referral form for Early Years support, and return it to

The referrals will be triaged weekly. The team may ask for further information or may offer you an online consultation. Following this, a plan will be made with you as to the best next steps, e.g., a setting/school visit, observation, or meeting with managers/teachers.
We appreciate this is a new process, but we have endeavoured to provide a service in-line with other services e.g., the Specialist Advisory Service. Any existing commitments/dates etc that are already in the team’s diaries will be honoured.

The Early Years team in North East Lincolnshire is based at Civic Offices, Cleethorpes. The team offer support, guidance and advice on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to all Ofsted registered providers of care and education of children aged 0-5 years.  This includes early years provision in schools, nurseries, pre-schools, childminders and out of school clubs.  The Early years team work alongside other services and agencies both within the council and external stakeholders such as Portage who work with children and families and schools. NELC SEND Local Offer | Portage team – NELC SEND Local Offer (

 The team consists of a variety of staff that has broad areas of expertise in the EYFS, Sufficiency and Sustainability of childcare, 2, 3 & 4 year old funding and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). They provide support services to providers in these areas.

Our team consists of an Early Years Manager, an Area SENCo, an Assistant Area SENCo, two SEND early years practitioners, a sufficiency officer and a statutory assessment moderation and monitoring officer.

Our team aim to improve the standard and quality of early years provision across North East Lincolnshire. We offer bespoke advice and guidance for settings when identifying individual needs.

To access support from our service, we have developed a graduated approach framework which we would expect to be implemented which is outlined by the SEN Code of Practice (2015). The threshold of the graduated approach framework will determine the level of support available based on the need, provider engagement and latest Ofsted inspection outcome. Please download the graduated response from the Important Documents tab below.

The Early Years team provide training opportunities which can be found on the local offer training page. We offer a termly early years network meeting and termly SEND surgeries for professionals. We also offer termly childminder network meetings. Our training is tailored to meet the needs of the early years sector and is primarily identified from feedback of the needs of the workforce. 

For more information or to request support from the Early Years team please contact:

The Early Years Inclusion Fund is designed to support settings with resourcing solutions to support a graduated response to meet the needs of children in their setting.

Dates for this year’s EYIF requests are as follows:

Term dates for EYIF 24/25

TermClosing date for requestsDecision panel dateFeedback to settings  
Autumn 247 June 202419/20 JuneW/B 1 July
Spring 2522 November 202527/28 NovemberW/B 9 December
Summer 257 March 202512/13 MarchW/B 24 March

All settings are expected to provide evidence of the graduated response already implemented to endeavour to meet a child’s needs.

The impact of COVID on Early Years children has further challenged already stretched requests for specialist support and assessment through specialist routes. This is challenging everyone involved in education, health and care provision for children to rethink how support can be effectively delivered to those settings and children who need it.

Education recovery in early years providers: spring 2022 – GOV.UK (

Settings need to consider what it is that they need to support the child effectively. Whilst a large proportion of applications are for 1:1 full time funding for a member of staff, this is not sustainable and sets an expectation that a child will always need an adult with them to access a setting. 

We are encouraging settings to think differently and consider what equipment, training, or specialist support a child might need to accelerate their progress.

All Early Years settings are responsible for implementing both the SEND Code of Practice (2014) and the Equality Act (2010).

This year we are going to have two different routes for providing support:

  1. Individual support (existing application process)
  2. Setting support (Training, equipment, specialist support)

All sections of the application form must be completed, including the family outcomes section to highlight the partnership working between setting and family.

In addition to this, additional evidence can be added which includes:

  • Health visitor information and assessments
  • Professional reports e.g. speech and language, specialist teacher

This term we are also going to trial a setting support form, which considers strategically what your setting might need to further support a group of children through an equipment or training purchase instead.

Please remember that this is a small inclusion fund and the first time we have trialled this approach.  We wouldn’t be looking to fund anything above £2,500 in the first instance.  

The same child cannot be referred in the same round for both types of funding.

We will be looking for examples of good practise through these requests to measure the impact and share with other settings and influence options for future allocation of funding.

Download the Early Years Inclusion Funding for settings request form (Word, 114 KB) .

Download the Settings-Review-Form (Word, 29KB)

If you have any questions or want to submit your request form, then please email


Please pop along to one of our SEND surgeries. It is a drop-in session where you can access advice and guidance from our Early Years SEND team. It is also a time for you to bring any questions regarding Early Years Inclusion funding or advice around the support and strategies for children in your setting.

Please find below the booking dates and times and location of family hub along with booking link.

Central Family Hub, Edward Street, Grimsby20 February 20249.30am-4.00pmPlease email with how many places, names, setting and preferred time to book a place.
Lincoln Suite Grimsby Town Hall, Town Hall Square, Grimsby    29 February 202410.00am- 2.00pmPlease email with how many places, names, setting and preferred time to book a place.

The Early Years Network Forum dates have been added for the 2023/24 school year. SENCo’s and early years leads are invited to attend. Visit the Early Years Events and Training page to see what’s on and book.

Portage Group Sessions- supporting with social and communication needs

If you are currently waiting for Portage Support, are already receiving support, or have received portage at some point previously, you may enjoy attending our Portage Social Communication Group.

Sessions visit and model strategies through play to support children with social and communication differences in an inclusive environment.

Sessions are held weekly during term time.

For more information, please email the team at: or speak to your Health Visitor.

Intensive Interaction

Intensive Interaction is an approach to helping children who are in the early stages of developing communication and social skills.

The approach is based on the way we observe and respond to the actions and noises of babies, and interpret these as communication. It helps a person and their communication partner to connect and enjoy each other’s company more.

It’s about watching closely how a child responds to different situations through their body language, voice and facial expressions – and responding to this.

Intensive Interaction is two-way communication and can be always used in all environments.

Intensive Interaction can be useful if a child is highly social in many ways, but still needs to develop social skills in:

  • Using and understanding eye contact and facial expressions.
  • Taking turns in sequences of social behaviour.
  • Developing use of vocalisations.

It can also be very effective when supporting children with additional or emerging needs.

If you feel your setting would benefit from understanding more about Intensive Interaction and would like to request some CPD, please contact the Early Years Team at

All About Attention

The Early Years team proudly offer the ‘All About Attention’ programme of intervention.

Do you have some children you feel are not engaged with the activities you provide, struggle to maintain any focus or have very little attention?

The Early Years team are offering an opportunity to receive modelling of the All About Attention stages, step by step guidance, pre and post intervention assessment, feedback and regular support and advice.

The All About Attention programme is a framework with set strategies and resources used to develop children’s communication, interaction, engagement, and attentional skills. Using highly motivating, engaging, and fun activities and toys to provide children an ‘irresistible invitation to learn’. By making intervention fun, exciting and interesting, increases the likelihood to grasp children’s attention and spontaneously joining in developing their attention and communication skills.

If you have children you feel would benefit from this approach please register your interest at A member of the EY team will be in touch to provide pre intervention assessment forms to evaluate the identified children’s levels of attention.

Next, a date will be agreed for a member of the team to come and model Stage 1 with the identified children and supporting adults. We then support the setting to take over the intervention for 6-8 weeks, provide a post intervention assessment, evaluate, and discuss the impact at that point. If positive impact has been made, and the children have progressed, the team would then move your setting onto the next stage and continue the process, repeating, until stage 3 is delivered, and your setting is confident in delivering the All About Attention programme.

Please note that by sharing your interest with the team, the setting is expected to complete all components of the programme, including feeding back to the Early Years Team, and potentially sharing experiences and impacts with other professionals.


The KIDS South Bank Sleep Service is funded by Humber Transforming Care Partnership.

Children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are far more likely than their peers to have sleep problems.

These may include difficulty going to sleep, waking frequently throughout the night or waking easily in the morning.

Our highly experienced senior sleep practitioners deliver sector specific training, including early years and primary school training to all

professionals working with children from age one year, where the child lives in North or North East Lincolnshire or has a GP in this area. Training is offered online or face-to-face.

In addition, we accept referrals for children where parents would like one-to-one specialist sleep clinic support. Parents are provided with advice, a sleep plan and support via telephone calls.

For enquiries, to book training or to refer a family, please email:

External training

Grimsby Institute SEND courses: Level 2 Special Education Needs and Disability | Distance Learning (

Events listing | Nasen– Continuing professionals development (CPD)

Important Documents

Nasen- The SEND Code of Practice (2015) and the EYFS Framework (2021): at a glance

Early Years Observation parent consent form (Word, 55KB)


Parent carers should know about the Early years page on the Local Offer. There is information on training and workshops, childcare, and more.

NELC SEND Local Offer | Early years (